Zungula Plaatjies or ‘Dizu’ as he is fondly known, is an indigenous musician and son of a Mpondomise traditional healer Shadrack Plaatjies. Dizu grew up surrounded by the phenomenon of ritual and music common in the Nguni culture of South Africa. In the early 1970s in Cape Town Dizu collaborated with his peers to form a musical collective that saw him in the role of a DJ, performer and an advocate of the arts in his community of Langa Township. By the late 1970s Dizu had formed his band Amampondo, touring the Americas, Europe and the Far East. This was a remarkable achievement for a band that had started busking in Sea Point and Greenmarket Square and became world renowned well before the laws of Apartheid were abolished in the 1990s. Dizu is presently holding a senior lecturer position in African music practical studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
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Luka Xikhapani Mukhavele musicianship has been shaped since his childhood along the Limpopo valley, Gaza province in the south of Mozambique where he was exposed to all forms of local and regional musical traditions and instruments. He studied at the Zimbabwe College of Ethnomusicology Trust, graduated an MA in World music studies at The University of Sheffield and is working towards his PhD in Ethno-organology. At present he lectures Acoustics and Organology Study of Mozambican Traditional Musical Instruments and Construction of Mozambican Traditional Musical Instruments at the Eduardo Mondlane University, in Maputo. He also teaches music education at the Maputo International School, researches and builds musical instruments as well as perform under his own Mukhambira Ethnomusical Project.
Ncebakazi Mnukwana is a researcher of Nguni bow music specialising in Xhosa umrhubhe and uhadi. A music educator, she spends most of her days training teachers, and is lecturer in ethnomusicology and World music at the Konservatorium, at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.
Bernhard Bleibinger studied at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich (Germany) and as exchange student at the University of California Los Angeles (USA). From 2004 until 2007 he conducted research at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and taught at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya in Barcelona (Spain). Since 2007 he has been heading the Music Department of the University of Fort Hare (South Africa). He published on music and symbols in Spain, the history of ethnomusicology, Xhosa music, Applied Ethnomusicology, curriculum development and music of the counter-reformation in Salzburg.
Andile Khumalo completed a MMus at Stuttgart’s State University of Music and Performance and DMus in Composition at New York City’s Columbia State University. He is currently lecturer at the Wits School of Music, University of the Witwatersrand.
Cara Stacey holds a Masters in Musicology from Edinburgh University and a Masters in Performance from SOAS (U. London) specialising in voice and southern African bow music. She is an ethnomusicology PhD candidate at the University of Cape Town, a member of the APC Research Initiative, and a Commonwealth Scholar.
Although musical bows are sadly a disappearing species, nevertheless examples of them are still in use in the great majority of people/language groups in Southern Africa. The bows are deceptively simple instruments, and easily undervalued by outside observers, but nevertheless they have played important roles among the peoples who use them. They have had a powerful influence on the musical techniques of those people – uses of scale, harmony and rhythm. The songs sung with bows are important carriers of traditional heritage. These songs tell of the lives and culture of the peoples, now and in the past, in many ways. They may also carry important insights into the history of the peoples. It is most comforting that steps are being taken to preserve the heritage of Southern African musical bows, at different educational institutions including at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. The address will illustrate the various points mentioned with examples from different population/language groups in the region.