The Setswana word “kagiso” means “peace” in English. It is formed from the root:
which means to build, to construct or to put together.
The suffix “-isa” is then attached to the verb “aga” to form “agisa”.
aga + -isa = agisa
“Agisa” means “help someone build”.
We then add the noun maker suffix [-o] to “agisa” to derive a noun.
agisa + -o = *agiso
(We use the asterisk * to show that a word is not acceptable.) Unfortunately [*agiso] is not acceptable. This is because in Setswana when you form a noun from a verb that starts with a vowel you always insert a [k] at the beginning. For instance:
aba + -o = *abo > k + abo = kabo
aga + -o = *ago > k + ago = kago
ara + -o = *aro > k + aro = karo
To return to our unacceptable verb “*agiso”, the argument is that it follows the same pattern as the above verbs. “Agiso” therefore takes a [k] at the beginning to form “kagiso”. The whole process appears as follows:
Aga + isa = agisa + -o = agiso > [k] + agiso = kagiso
That is the technical morphological formation of “kagiso”.
Semantically it is clear that the Tswana believe that peace is something that is built with the help of others. In the language it is called “go letlanya” (from the verb “letla” meaning to allow/permit) to bring peace between two or more people. No one builds peace by themselves. Peace in the Tswana philosophical thinking is negotiated. It is a matter of give and take: trasliterationally “I allow/permit you” and “you allow/permit me”: Re a letlana. Peace is also seen as a progressive matter; and not a once of thing. Peace like a building is built. It takes time. Like a building sadly is can be destroyed and razed to the group.