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Sound, memory and dis/placement: Exploring sound, song and performance as oral history in the southern African borderlands

By Angela Impey


This paper draws on research conducted in the borderlands of South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland. It proposes that sound, song and the affect of music-making represent a much under-utilised historical research resource, particularly in contexts of spatial and social rupture. Through the revitalisation of two traditional mouthbows and the jews harp – instruments once played by young Nguni women while walking, but remembered now by elderly women only – it explores music’s capacity to operate as both historical text and oral testimony, providing a focus for mobilising collective evocations of self and place, and aimed at raising the level of the voices of a community whose livelihood and sociality are at variance with broader socio-economic and environmental development processes in the region

Topics: 900
Year: 2007
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Provided by: SOAS Research Online
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