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Music and Social Change in South Africa

Music and Social Change in South Africa: Maskanda Past and Present

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 222
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  • Book Info
    Music and Social Change in South Africa
    Book Description:

    Music and Social Change in South Africalooks at contemporary maskanda-a folk musical genre distinguished by fast guitar picking and blues-style vocal intonation-against the backdrop of South Africa's history. A performance practice that emerged in the early decades of the twentieth century among Zulu migrant workers, maskanda is strongly associated with young Zulu men's experiences of repression and dislocation during imperial and, more particularly, apartheid rule.Working closely with translated song lyrics and musical notation-and applying musical and socio-political analysis to this music and its cultural context-Olsen argues that maskanda offers insight into how the post-apartheid ideal of social transformation is experienced by those who were marginalized for most of the twentieth century.Drawing on a decade of research, Olsen strives to demystify the Zulu part of contemporary experience in South Africa and to reveal some of the complexities of the social, economic, and political landscape of contemporary South Africa.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-1138-9
    Subjects: Music, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Prologue
    (pp. xi-xvi)

    Maskanda is more than a musical style. It is an experience. It is also a place where identities are inhabited. Maskanda has long since been claimed as Zulu music. Most followers of maskanda proudly celebrate its Zuluness. Indeed it is often heavily marked with commonly accepted symbols of Zulu heritage. One cannot escape this ethnic affiliation even though the idea that maskanda is Zulu music is now being questioned. All the musicians who feature in this “story” of maskanda are Zulu. However, each one has a different version not only of what constitutes personal identity but also of the relationship...

  5. 1 Maskanda Researched: The Parallax View
    (pp. 1-19)

    Research is a complex process.We doresearch. Many of my non-English-speaking students say, “We make a research,” and this does indeed describe the research process. Research is after all driven by conscious action. In this chapter, I describe my consciousness in the act of research into the maskanda domain. This explanation takes shape as a narrative that moves into maskanda from different starting points as I explore different ways of conceptualizing maskanda, what it becomes, how it is used and experienced, and of course also what it may mean.

    The ethnomusicological project is concerned in the broadest terms with...

  6. 2 Maskanda’s Early Years
    (pp. 20-55)

    The early pioneers of South African music studies were overwhelmed by notions of ethnic purity and thus paid little attention to syncretic styles that developed in and around cities. Their main concern was the preservation of what was perceived as “authentic” indigenous music. Apart from music that developed under the influence of Christian missionaries, the creative expression of an urbanizing indigenous population was most often disregarded, or viewed with suspicion. The historiography of early maskanda is thus based on evidence drawn from a limited repository of information and has been shaped by two main factors: the stories that have been...

  7. 3 Maskanda as Commodified Tradition
    (pp. 56-69)

    By the early 1990s the term “maskanda” was widely used to refer to music that was thought of as traditional Zulu music and played in a band format that included amplified acoustic guitar or electric lead guitar, bass guitar, a western drum kit or programmed drums on recordings, and concertina or violin or both. Maskanda was well established as a genre constituted as a body of practice complete with conventions of form and style that marked it as different from other performance practices. Phuzushukela’s legacy was taken up by Phuzekhemisi and his brother Khetani. My focus here is on their...

  8. 4 Men Making Maskanda in Post-apartheid South Africa
    (pp. 70-140)

    On April 26, 2007, theMail and Guardianran a story that began as follows: “The ANC’s stormy Winnie Madikizela-Mandela infuriated the rural women who protested outside the World Congress of Rural Women in Durban this week by telling them ‘not to behave like the MDC in Zimbabwe.’” According to the report, six hundred women representing fourteen different organizations gathered outside the congress venue to protest their exclusion. Arriving at the congress celebrity style, in an S-class Mercedez Benz, accompanied by an entourage of bodyguards, and wearing symbolically Africanist designer clothing, Madikizela-Mandela was confronted with songs, ululations, and placards of...

  9. 5 Women Playing Maskanda
    (pp. 141-184)

    An overarching theme of this book is the relationship between the production of maskanda and the shifting power dynamics in postapartheid South Africa. In this chapter the focus is on gendered power relations and their expression in and through maskanda performed by women. This subject matter is viewed as a complex composite of many different perspectives that are expressed in different ways and that can no doubt be interpreted in different ways. While the primary focus is on representations of female autonomy in and through maskanda, the purpose of this chapter is also simply to describe the features of music...

  10. 6 Experiencing Transformation
    (pp. 185-196)

    The range of music, experience, attitudes, and political imperatives that have been captured on the radar of this project covers some eighty years. It would be superfluous to say that life has changed considerably over that period. But I say it anyway because in fact I am so often struck by the fact that for nearly fifty of those years South Africa was trapped in a system that intentionally resisted change. Apartheid! It not only separated one group from another, it separated South Africans from their future. It was a system that took life, not just in the physical sense...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 197-204)
  12. References
    (pp. 205-212)
  13. Index
    (pp. 213-222)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 223-223)