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Renowned South African performer Madosini is
performing at the 10th African Cultural Calabash at
UKZN.

UKZN’s Music Discipline is hosting an international African Music Symposium that will bring together academics, artists and documentary film makers with an interest in Africa and the diaspora.

The International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) African Music Symposium from 29 September to 4 October will involve delegates exchanging research and creative outputs about African music and dance. There will also be discussions on academic papers, concerts and workshops where delegates can interact and share knowledge.

The keynote speaker is Emeritus Professor J H Kwabena Nketia, a Ghanaian Ethnomusicologist and composer who is considered Africa’s premier musicologist.  He is regarded as the world’s most published and best known authority in African music and aesthetics.

Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee and Programme Committee, UKZN academic, Dr Patricia Opondo, said she was very proud the prestigious international Symposium was being held in Durban. 

Opondo said the Symposium had three themes – African Bows, Harps, Fiddles, Guitars; Packaging Heritage; and Transnational Diasporic Cultures. 

‘It is so exciting that after a year of planning, we are about to celebrate this decade of presenting African folklore and indigenous performing arts through mounting the annual African Cultural Calabash. This year is special as we have included a three-day Symposium that includes paper, workshop and film presentations by 35 performer-academics from around the globe.

‘To have esteemed Emeritus Professor Kwabena Nketia presenting the keynote address is the cherry on top. These four days and the preceding weeks provide life changing experiences for our Music students, particularly those majoring in African Music and Dance as we will bring the best in the field to them. They will not only listen to ground-breaking research, but be able to participate in amazing workshops, and best of all, perform to an illustrious international community,’ said Opondo. 

About 100 guests are expected to attend, including Professor Dave Dargie, who has a prolific publication record spanning over 40 years on Southern African bows, particularly those found in the Eastern Cape. 

Papers that will be presented include: “Southern Africa’s Remarkable Heritage of Musical Bows: Does It Have a Future?”, by Professor Dave Dargie (Germany/South Africa); “Re-packaging Heritage, Reinventing Africa: Rethinking Musical Education, Culture and Insight into Diasporic Cultures”, by Ayorinde Oladele (Nigeria/South Africa); and “Ethnomusicological Perspectives on the Nile Project: Musical Collaboration as Transnational Cooperation”, by Damascus Kafumbe (Uganda/USA).

‘We will also be bestowing a Lifetime Achievement Award to the UKZN Umakhweyana Bow teacher, Bro. Clement Sithole,  in recognition of his contributions in preserving this Zulu indigenous instrument that he learnt at the feet of the late Princess Constance Magogo, the mother of Honorable Mangosuthu Buthelezi.  

‘We have also invited the South African musical bow icon and legend, Madosini of the Eastern Cape,  one of South Africa’s musical treasures, who will perform on uhadi and Umrube,’ added Opondo.

Delegates from music Departments of all the major South Africa universities who teach and research African Music and Ethnomusicology will attend.   

‘The Symposium will showcase UKZN’s mission to be the premier institution of African Scholarship, and indeed in inspiring greatness. There will be artists and scholars from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique, Uganda, Cape Verde, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Malawi as well as from Portugal, Germany, USA, Turkey and Hungary,’ said Opondo.

The Symposium dovetails with the 10th Anniversary Celebrations of the African Cultural Calabash, hosted by the African Music Project at UKZN. The African Cultural Calabash is an annual folk life event curated and produced by the Applied Ethnomusicology section in the School of Arts – African Music and Dance division.  

This pan-African show will feature trailblazing and pulsating international acts including: Tomeletsi Sereetsi (Botswana), Zviri Mudeze (Zimbabwe), Jembeken (Mozambique/South Africa, USA); Zippy Okoth (Kenya), Ngalanga Ensemble (Mozambique/South Africa), and Praise Zinhuku (Zimbabwe).

Hosts South Africa will be represented by the Maskandi duo of David ‘Qadasi’ Jenkins and Maqhinga Radebe Qadasi, who hail from Empangeni in the heart of Zululand. They are an acoustic duo on a quest to revive the powerful sounds of traditional Maskandi music. 

Both artists are SAMA and SATMA Award nominees and their joining forces has resulted in a fusion of traditional Zulu and western folk music of an international calibre.

The line-up includes Madosini, the Grande dame of Xhosa Umrube and Uhadi bows; and performances by other Southern Africa bow researcher-performers, Dave Dargie, Cara Stacey, and KwaZulu-Natal’s own Bro Clement Sithole, performing on an old Zulu indigenous instrument, the umakhweyana bow. There will also be a performance from our own postgraduate student and Maskandi star, Nozuko Nguqu.

Following the performances, African cuisine will be on offer.

‘Come dressed in your African gowns and beads and skins in true Pan African spirit, and celebrate with legends and youth practitioners and researchers,’ exclaimed Opondo.

Tickets for the 10th Anniversary concert cost R200 for adults and R150 for students and pensioners. Contact Thulile Zama (031-260 3385) at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music on the Howard College campus or email: culturalcalabash@gmail.com

For further information, visit https://culturalcalabash.ukzn.ac.za/