Liberating voices: narrative strategies and style in township choral music, with specific reference to selected works by three Xhosa composers

  • Z Potgieter
  • V Mazomba


In this article the authors argue for the close reading of South African township choral music in order to liberate the voices of a musical genre that has long been one of this country's musical silences. In this regard an analysis of selected compositions by three composers from the Eastern Cape – Tonny Vumazonke, Phillippe Mangali and Elliot ‘Doc' Mkonto – reveal a stylistic hybridity that exposes, at one level, narrative strategies unique to each composer, but underlying this, a prevailing socio-political discourse that may be said to typify township choral music as a whole. This prevailing discourse may be understood as the profound yearning amongst the people of the townships to address their far-reaching sense of loss, a call for the ‘return of Africa', and thus for a deep and long-lasting solution to the social problems of our society.

Journal of Musical Arts in Africa Vol. 2 2005: pp. 23-54

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2070-626X
print ISSN: 1812-1004