Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa

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Constructing the popular: challenges of archiving ugandan ‘popular’ music

S Nannyonga-Tamusuza


This paper adds to the many voices debating the conceptualization of the ‘popular’ and contends that while its definition depends on the intention of the one defining, the popular is also time- and culture-specific. Field research shows that the construction of music as ‘popular’ in Uganda is commercially determined – by the media and the music industry. ‘Popular’ does not necessarily refer to what everyone in the community wants. The author focuses on the challenges that ‘popular’ brings to defining, identifying, classifying and cataloguing music for archival purposes. While acknowledging the multi-dimensionality of an archive, it is the archive as a storage place, not only of the past but also of the present which defines the future, that informs the thesis of this paper

AJOL African Journals Online