Sounding the Cape Music, Identity and Politics in South Africa
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: African Books Collective
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Title Page, Copyright
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This book is the outcome of a project that began to take shape through conversations with Professor Simon Bekker (Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, University of Stellenbosch), in the course of which he suggested that I submit a research proposal to the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study (STIAS). I then discussed the idea with Professor Bernard Lategan, the then ...
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The project which resulted in the present book would probably never have been envisioned if Professor Simon Bekker had not invited me to submit a research proposal to the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies (STIAS). It would not have been realised without the support of STIAS. I wish to express my gratitude to Simon Bekker, Bernard Lategan, who was in 2007 the Director of STIAS and ...
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Part One. The Emergence of Creolised Identities
Chapter One. Music and Identity: A Theoretical Prologue
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In his Memories of Slavery, Édouard Glissant, the Martiniquean philosopher who proposed a comprehensive conception of creolisation, suggests that: “Maybe we should be suspicious of the idea of identity, but even more of keeping silent about it” (Glissant 2007: 35). Identity has emerged, during the past 50 years, as a key topic in the social sciences. Since Erik Erikson started studying “identity crises” ...
Chapter Two. Cape Town’s Musics: A Legacy of Creolisation
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The history of Cape Town’s musics has been underpinned by a long process of creolisation, which probably began as soon as Vasco da Gama set foot on the shore of what is today known as Mossel Bay, on 2 December 1497. His party was entertained by a group of Khoikhoi musicians using the hocket technique on their flutes, which had been extremely popular among European composers, ...
Part Two. The Dialectics of Separation and Interweaving
Chapter Three. Separation and Interweaving in the 20th Century: Futile Separations
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In 1901, the authorities took the pretext of an outburst of plague to expel Africans from the centre of Cape Town. Most of them had been living in District Six and were removed to Uitvlugt, which was renamed Ndabeni, before they were transferred again to Langa in the 1920s and 1930s. The displacement of the small number of Africans inhabiting Cape Town at the dawn of the 20th ...
First Interlude: Vincent Kolbe’s Childhood Memories
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Vincent Kolbe was born in District Six on 19 July 1933. He was a librarian, an activist and a musician. As a librarian, he encouraged young people to read, and gave them access to material that could help them develop a critical mind. He worked at the Bonteheuwel ...
Chapter Four. Separation and Interweaving in the 20th Century: Fertile Intertwining
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Vincent Kolbe’s childhood memories exemplify the wealth and diversity of musics that could be heard, appreciated and appropriated in Cape Town. His contention was that Cape Town was a creole city because it was a port city through which echoes of the world could enter South Africa, and be transformed to nourish local processes of creation. Singer Sathima Bea Benjamin mentioned other repertoires ...
Second Interlude: Chris McGregor Talks about the Blue Notes, Jazz and South African Society
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One had to be rash to play in a group like the Blue Notes at the time. We managed to not really infringe the laws. In the Cape the areas we played weren’t the object of strict racial segregation at that time. There was a zone which had not yet been really classified racially and it was there that we played, in one of the ...
Third Interlude: “Soweto Sun”: An Interview with Rashid Vally by Denis-Constant Martin
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Johannesburg doesn’t look the way you’d expect. So-called ‘petty apartheid’ may be in camouflage, but the real oppression is ever more absolute. The city itself seems desegregated, yet certain realities are unavoidable. To get to the Kohinoor Store, you pass not far from the ultra-modern city centre. But behind ...
Chapter Five. Two Decades of Freedom
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On 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela walked out of the Victor-Verster Prison in Paarl a free man. A few days before, State President F.W. de Klerk had announced that the African National Congress (ANC), the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) were unbanned. This ushered in a new era, and after protracted and difficult negotiations a new constitutional ...
Chapter Six.The Musicians’ Discourse: Cape Town as a Musical Potjiekos
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The history of music in Cape Town is undeniably a history of interweaving, interlacing and cross-fertilisation; in other words, a history of creolisation. Yet, after three centuries of slavery, segregation and apartheid, how is that history actually understood by the musicians themselves? After decades of categorising music according to separate identities ascribed by racist powers, how do musicians ...
Conclusion: Recognising Creolisation?
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It is December 2007, in Netreg Road, on the fringe of Bonteheuwel, one of these townships that was developed by the apartheid government to relocate coloured Capetonians who were expelled from the city centre. The Netreg Superstars, a small community Klopse troupe, are practising. They are gathered under a makeshift shed, in front of a small house, and are learning a moppie brought by their coach, ...
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Musicians Interviewed in 2007 and 2009
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Page Count: 472
Publication Year: 2013