Ethnography and the archive: Power and Politics in five South African music archives. Stellenbosch University. 2012
This study addresses issues concerning power and politics in five music archives in South Africa. It has a three-fold approach. First, it provides an overview of archival theory as it has developed since the French Revolution in 1789. It follows the trajectory of changing archival principles such as appraisal and provenance and provides an oversight into the changing understanding of ‘the archive’ as an impartial custodian of the Truth, to its conceptualisation in the Humanities as a concept deeply rooted in discourses around power, justice and knowledge production. Interrogating the unfolding concept of the archive throws into relief its current envisioned function within a post-Apartheid South Africa. Secondly, this dissertation explores five music archives in South Africa to investigate the level to which archival theory is engaged with and practiced in music archives. The archives in question are the International Library of African Music (ILAM), the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Radio and Sound Archive, the Gallo Record Archive, the Hidden Years Music Archive (HYMA) and the Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS). This interrogation serves to illustrate how music archives take part in or subvert the power mechanisms inherent in archival practice. As such, this dissertation is situated within a body of scholarship that seeks to subvert the still prevailing consideration of the music archive as a neutral repository. Third, it investigates how a critical reading of music archives within a consideration of archival theory can add to our understanding of the practical realities of archives that firmly ground them as objects of power.
Hippies, radicals and sounds of silence: cultural dialectics at two South African universities, 1966-1976. UKZN, Durban. 2010.
This study explores the impact of the counter culture on students at two Anglophone universities in the 1960s and 70s. It focuses on the social and historical differences that predisposed English speaking youth to metropolitan based cultures. It explores this in the context of a lack of identity with the dominant culture of apartheid. The study examines the method of transmission, absorption, translation and incorporation of the counterculture and the New Left. The factors that highlighted the differences between South African students and their counterparts abroad are seen not only in their access to technology but also in the nature of their relationship to power both political and educational. The importance of understanding what bred different responses to similar stimuli assists in understanding the process in which the global became local. It is argued here that the attraction of the counterculture lay in the broader cultural scope it gave to expressions of difference and resistance as a response to the rigid and continuous expansion of punitive measures by the apartheid government. The persistence through the 1960s of a liberal framework is examined in the context of a response to these measures as well as a failure to move beyond the racial foregrounding of the political system. The influences of events in the USA, UK and France in 1968 are seen in the context of their importance in South Africa as a catalyst to practical and theoretical change. The significance of individuals as translators of the discourses of the New Left is paralleled in examinations of South African musicians whose lyrics and compositions carried both the ideas of the counter culture as well as expressed responses and issues shared by their audiences. The importance of the coalescing of both the New Left and the counterculture are evident in the early 1970s. Students adopted a Marxist framework within which to analyse South Africa, and the methods of the New Left in France in seeking alliances with workers. This practical approach was an example of the global becoming local and introduced those with access to privileged white education into a reexamination of the role of education in changing society. The counterculture expressed itself in the adoption of both cultural and educational methods of focusing on change as a response both to students relationship to power as well as to the emphasis of the 1960s on a broader more individually expressed ability to embrace change and new values. The study concludes that the framework of the New Left when employed in redefining South African history was central to a process of both economic and cultural change within the country. The absence of a strongly expressed identity suggests the widespread appeal of the central values of the counterculture which emphasized distance and disaffiliation from the dominant culture. The opportunity offered by this position is seen as a response to the political expressions of a racially defined student body against a less obvious but significant change in the definition and role of tertiary education and cultural institutions
See: Research Space
Politics, production and process: Discourses on tradition in contemporary maskanda. University of KwaZulu-Natal. 2000
This thesis is concerned with processes of meaning-making in contemporary maskanda. More specifically, it is about the part that is played by ‘tradition’, in the construction of meaning. It aims to uncover some of the ways in which tradition is interpreted and used both in academic discourse and in the general discourses of everyday life, and to relate these perceptions to its use in the making and marketing of contemporary maskanda. It seeks an explanation for how and why ‘tradition’ is referenced. It is equally fair to say that this thesis is about three musicians, Shiyani Ngcobo, Phuzekhemisi, and Madala Kunene. They feature not simply as the subject matter of his enquiry, but also because they offer three very different paths by which to access the material needed to answer some of the questions about the ‘how’ and ‘wherefore’ of the experience of contemporary maskanda.
Access: Research Space
An Analysis of the censorship of popular music within the context of cultural struggle in South Africa during the 1980s. Rhodes University. 2004
The censorship of popular music in South Africa during the 1980s severely affected South African musicians. The apartheid government was directly involved in centralized state censorship by means of the Directorate of Publications, while the South African Broadcasting Corporation exercised government censorship at the level of airplay. Others who assisted state censorship included religious and cultural interest groups. State censorship in turn put pressure on record ~ompanies, musicians and others to practice self-censorship. Many musicians who overtly sang about taboo topics or who used controversial language subsequently experienced censorship in different forms, including police harassment. Musicians were also subject to anti-apartheid forms of censorship, such as the United Nations endorsed cultural boycott. Not all instances of censorship were overtly political, but they were always framed by, and took place within, a repressive legal-political system.
This thesis found that despite the state’s attempt to maintain its hegemony, musicians sought ways of overcoming censorship practices. It is argued that the ensuing struggle cannot be conceived of in simple binary terms. The works of Antonio Gramsci, Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu, in particular, are applied to the South African context in exploring the localized nuances of the cultural struggle over music censorship. It is argued that fragmented resistance to censorship arose out of the very censorship structures that attempted to silence musicians.
2020. ‘It’s just a matter of time’: African American Musicians and the Cultural Boycott in South Africa, 1968-1983. Stellenbosch University. Supervisor L. Lambrechts.
In 1968 the United Nations General Assebly instituted a cultural boycott against apartheid South Africa. The cultural boycott prevented South Africa from having cultural, educational and sporting ties with the rest of the world, and it was an attempt by the international community to sever ties with South Africa. A culmination of this strategy was the publication of an annual registry by the United Nations of all international entertainers, actors, and others who performed in South Africa from 1983. Based on this registry a number of academic studies have been conducted, but very few studies have investigated those who came to perform in South Africa before the publication of the registry even though renowned artists such as Percy Sledge (1970), Brooke Benton (1971 & 1982), Jimmy Smith (1978 & 1982) and Isaac Hayes (1978) performed in South Africa during this time. This study will investigate a selection of African American musicians who came to perform in South Africa before the publication of the registry. Specific attention will be paid to the reception of these musicians in South Africa, the promoters that brought them and their accompanying musicians. Based on close readings of their tours, this study will argue that the cultural boycott was not as successful inn deterring musicians from performing in South Africa. In fact, in some instances their careers regained renewed relevance after their return to America.
Access: Scholar Sun
Visual enquiries and idiosyncratic selections: a close reading of dust. Stellenbosch University. 2017
In the thesis, Visual Enquiries and Idiosyncratic Selections: A Close Reading of Dust, dust from the Ben Segal collection is investigated in order to explore what it may reveal about the idea and structure of the archive. This is achieved by looking at the physical and metaphorical manifestation of dust in the Ben Segal collection. The primary concern is the relationship between visibility and invisibility within the archive as it is linked to notions of ‘dust.’ The secondary focus will be to explore the attribution of significance and insignificance to dust within archival practices, in particular the Ben Segal collection from the Hidden Years Music Archive. The Ben Segal collection, held at the Documentation Centre for Music at Stellenbosch University since 2013, forms part of the Hidden Music Years Archive. Since the late 1950s Ben Segal avidly collected material that fascinated him and, during his lifetime, the collection grew to include significant items related to South African folk music. With this history of collecting forming the background to my own enquiry, the methodological basis of this thesis is a close reading of the dust that can be found within Ben Segal’s collection. Such a process of close reading draws on both a poststructuralist framework, as well as modes of (scientific) visual analysis, as a means to investigate the meaning and function of dust in the Ben Segal archive.
Claudia Jansen v Rensburg.
Institutional Manifestations of Music Censorship and Surveillance in Apartheid South Africa with Specific Reference to the SABC from 1974 to 1996. Stellenbosch University. 2013
Catherine Anne Morrow.
Selling the War, Surviving the War: The Use of Music During the Border War. University of KwaZulu-Natal. 2009
This dissertation examines some of the numerous ways in which music can be put to use during times of war. Using South Africa’s border war (1966 – 1989) as a case study, the dissertation first looks at the ways in which music was used by certain radio stations, on behalf of the SABC and the South African government, as an aesthetic device to inculcate trust in conscripted soldiers that the war was legitimate. Secondly, it investigates the ways in which soldiers used music to respond to the government’s efforts in this regard, as well as the ways in which they used music (accessed through radio music and dedication programmes, recordings and live) to negotiate their experiences of the border war.
The main argument of this work stems from a broader notion that individuals and groups of people use music in everyday life for its ability to act as a cultural vehicle that operates multi- dimensionally over space and time. This means that music can evoke memory; restore familiarity, security and continuity; elicit desired modes of behaviour; and create a sense of control over the environment. Data recovered from archives and interviews have been qualitatively analysed, and the dissertation argues that music played an integral role in the government’s, the SABC’s and radio’s efforts to sell the war on the one side, and the soldiers’ efforts to survive it on the other.
Lindy van der Meulen.
From rock’n’roll to hard core punk: an introduction to rock music in Durban, 1963-1985. University of KwaZulu-Natal. 1995
This thesis introduces the reader to rock music in Durban from 1963 to 1985, tracing the development of rock in Durban from rock’n’roll to hard core punk. Although the thesis is historically orientated, it also endeavours to show the relationship of rock music in Durban to three central themes, viz: the relationship of rock in Durban to the socio-political realities of apartheid in South Africa; the role of women in local rock, and the identity crisis experienced by white, English-speaking South Africans. Each of these themes is explored in a separate chapter, with Chapter Two providing the bulk of historical data on which the remaining chapters are based. Besides the important goal of documenting a forgotten and ignored rock history, one central concern pervades this work. In every chapter, the conclusions reached all point to the identity crisis experienced both by South African rock audiences and the rock musicians themselves. The constant hankering after international (and specifically British) rock music trends both by audiences and fans is symptomatic of a culture in crisis, and it is the search for the reasons for this identity crisis that dominate this work. The global/local debate and its relationship to rock in South Africa has been a useful theoretical tool in the unravelling of the identity crisis mentioned above. Chapter Four focusses on the role of women in the Durban rock scene and documents the difficulties experienced by women who were rock musicians in Durban. This is a small contribution to the increasing field of womens’ studies, and I have attempted to relate the role of women in rock in Durban to other studies in this field