King George V Avenue
Berea, KZN
South Africa

The Bow Music Conference at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on 24 - 27 February 2016 is put together in consultation with southern African and international bow music researchers. Participation will include academics from a wide spectrum of indigenous musical arts, practitioners and cultural bearers of diverse bow music traditions in sub-Saharan and abroad.

Bavikile Ngema


Bavikile Ngema

Steve Jones

Bavikile Ngema [MaBhengu] (umakhweyana, umbheleza [mouthbow], imfiliji [harmonica], isitolotolo [jaws harp]) was born in 1951 in the Nkandla district of KwaZulu-Natal. A prolific composer and virtuoso player on umakhweyana and umqangala (umbheleza) Nguni musical bows, she also performs harmonica and jaws-harp. Learning to play by watching and imitating her sisters and cousins, Bavikile’s uniquely extended umakhweyana playing technique elicits a fourth fundamental note from the single-stringed instrument. Her acute rhythmic, melodic and contrapuntal sensibility lends a palpable, youthful vibrancy to her original compositions and interpretations of traditional Nguni repertoires.