Amahubo (Part Two)

Last week we wrote an introduction to amahubo songs, and this week we’re focusing on Mbuso Khoza, one of the greatest proponents of this style of music. A cultural researcher and singer, Khoza is interested in far more than just the sound of the music, but rather considers the genre from a historic and story-telling point of view. … Read more

Zulu Musical Instruments: Umakhweyana

Dizu Plaatjies demonstrating the umakhweyana

While the wooden bow is most often thought of as a weapon, there’s some debate as to whether it was first used for hunting, or instead as a musical instrument, as in the case of the umakhweyana. Also referred to as ugubu or umqangala in isiZulu, most people believe that the musical bow originates from the Khoisan, … Read more

Electric Jive

About two years ago a friend of mine played the most fantastic recording of a 1950s South African jazz band, and it was unlike any African music I’d ever heard! He told me that he’d got it off the internet, but not having a clue how to download music I didn’t pay much attention to … Read more

King of the Zulu Guitar

Madala Kunene has always done things his own way. Despite both of his parents being academics, Kunene refused to attend school and instead spent his childhood busking on the Durban beachfront, playing his own version of Maskandi guitar on an instrument made out of a cooking oil tin and fish gut. Kunene was born in … Read more

Mama Africa

The 9th November marked the fifth anniversary of singer and civil rights activist, Miriam Makeba’s death. Makeba, affectionately referred to as ‘Mama Africa’, returned to South Africa in 1990, after having had her citizenship and ‘right of return’ revoked by the apartheid government in 1963. While Makeba may not have been known to many white … Read more