Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa Volume 14

musical arts in africa
Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa Volume 14 Issue 1-2, June – December 2017
The Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa ( JMAA) is published by NISC (Pty) Ltd in association with the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town. It is an accredited, internationally refereed journal that aims to combine ethnomusicological, musicological, music educational and performance-based research in a unique way to promote the musical arts on the African continent. This journal also incorporates book, audio and audiovisual media and software reviews.

What has happened to song, dance and play in academia?
Anri Herbst


The promotion of Setswana through hip hop and motswakolistas
Thabo Ditsele

Many South African music genres, such as bubblegum, kwaito and local Afro-pop, originate in Johannesburg and mainly use ‘Jozi Sotho’ or ‘Jozi Zulu’. These two varieties are used as lingua francas in greater Johannesburg and thus reasonably have more ethno-linguistic vitality than other Southern Bantu languages spoken in South Africa. The musical genre of motswako defied tradition and effectively set an unprecedented trend in South Africa, firstly by mainly using Setswana and English code-switches and -mixes, and secondly by developing in Mahikeng. The aim of this article is to highlight this new trend, using qualitative content analysis to examine the lyrics of five popular motswako songs. The analysis illustrates that besides English, motswako mainly uses Setswana (both standard and non-standard varieties). The author proposes that motswako and motswakolistas are part of the identity of Batswana, and thus the growth and popularity of the genre inevitably promotes Setswana’s status in society.

The marriage of instinct and ingenuity: canonic writing in the music of Hendrik Hofmeyr
James May

Hendrik Hofmeyr’s interest in contrapuntal textures is evident in most of his works. Few recent composers have made such abundant use of canonic writing in their music as Hofmeyr. This article investigates his use of both conventional and innovative types of canon in works selected from his complete oeuvre.

Repackaging Igbo folksongs for global acceptance: towards reviving and preserving the musical heritage of a Nigerian community
Alvan-Ikoku O Nwamara

The entire life of an average Igbo (from cradle to grave) revolves round the arts generally and most especially the musical arts. Many aesthetic features of a wide range of the arts of music, dance and drama fill the lives and environments of Igbo rural communities. As the very essence of culture, folk music forms the basis of people’s tradition and identity. Transmitted orally between generations, it does not necessarily conform to the music of any other culture. However, in some cases it may share common factors, elements or characteristics with those of other ethnic groups around the country. Recent studies have shown that the state of Igbo folksongs in the twenty-first century is not very encouraging. Although a few Igbo musicologists have made arrangements of some of the folksongs, transforming them into art music of some sort, the music has been to a great extent neglected and relegated to the background by the present generation, especially the youth, such that it may eventually become a lost heritage. Unfortunately, many musicologists fail to realise this unhealthy development and consequently do very little or nothing to salvage the situation. This article therefore sets out to draw the attention of Igbo musicologists and all other stakeholders, while highlighting the attempts made so far towards ‘repackaging’ these folksongs for global acceptance and for posterity. Describing these trends holds the potential of creating a better future for the Igbo musical tradition and culture.

An African Festivity for Flute: sensing diversity, creolisation and knowledge through sound
Marietjie Pauw

This article begins by exploring the concept of diversity in music and arts education. A survey undertaken maps lesser and greater musico-cultural diversity amongst selected tertiary institutions that offer Music as a degree subject in South Africa and in Uganda. The results indicate that the term diversity is perhaps inadequate for Music and Arts education in Africa. An investigation of terminology that educators have used in recent publications presents an alternative category to diversity, namely creolisation. The author’s playing of a selected solo by Justinian Tamusuza, An African Festivity for Flute, engages with creolisation as a heard and experienced phenomenon. Listeners’ responses are documented as experiences of hearing creolisation instead of hearing diversity. From this exercise, some of the conclusions drawn are found to be applicable to Music and Arts education, so that the notion of ‘creol-ing’ as an analytical tool and as experience might well further an education that helps cultivate a ‘shared humanity.’ The article documents an inquiry into knowledge generation through sound, motivated by artistic research through music. Finally, this project indicates that a search for one or the other ‘category’ is perhaps less satisfactory than the quest for an experientially-sensed, embodied knowledge emanating from sound and music performance.


African Rhythms for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion and piano
Ayọ̀ Olúrántí

African Rhythms approaches composition from an intercultural perspective in that it amalgamates musical elements and processes from African and Western art music cultures. Minimalism co-exists with Western compositional devices with an added aspect of intercultural activity by using orchestral instruments in African percussive ways.


Venda Lashu: Tshivenda Songs, Musical Games and Song StoriesThe Flamboyant Rooster and Other Tshivenda Song StoriesThe Girls in the Baobab: Venda Stories from the Limpopo Valley
Andrea Emberly

Musics of the Free State: Reflections on a Musical Past, Present, and Future
Erin Johnson-Williams


Life and Live Art: reflexive comments on interdisciplinary performances in Cape Town
Jackï Job

Neue Welten. Musik und Konfession im Kolonialzeitalter [New worlds. Music and religious denomination in the age of colonialism], Sondershausen (Germany), 21 and 22 October 2016
Kirstin Pönnighaus