Portuguese Guest Lecturer and Honours Students Present Research
Visiting Portuguese Scholar and international Ethnomusicologist from the University of Aveiro, Ms Ana Flávia Miguel, gave a guest lecture during the African Music and Dance Archive Activities at UKZN.
This was followed by Applied Ethnomusicology Research Projects being presented by four honours students.
Miguel’s presentation focused on two applied ethnomusicology projects in a Cape Verdian community (Kova M) in Portugal. In one example, featured the celebration of Saint John’s Day on 24 June, when the main thrust is Kola San Jon, a performative practice which includes music, dance and artefacts.
‘The celebration of Saint John’s Day provides an opportunity to promote dialogue between Cape Verdian immigrants and several organisations in the host country. In 2013 "Kola San Jon" was included in the Portuguese List of Intangible Cultural Heritage and Saint John’s Day is seen, by Cape Verde immigrants, as a new and creative dialogue window,’ she said.
Miguel also spoke about the project under the theme: "Skopeofonia - participatory and dialogic study of musical practices". Skopeofonia is a project of the University of Aveiro in Portugal and involves a team of 11 researchers comprising university seniors, PhD students and Kova M unemployed residents. ‘The aim of the project is to build up a musical archive for the neighbourhood, mapping the musical activities in Kova M and to produce a documentary about all the research processes during the project activity,’ said Miguel.
Research presentations by the students were then featured. Mr Nhlakanipho Ngcobo examined: "Emerging Organisations, Funding and Representation of Arts and Cultural activities in South African Townships".
'This research paper was based on the experience that I had during my service learning requirement in the module Public Sector Ethnomusicology and Community Development, which requires all students who enrol in Applied Ethnomusicology to provide technical assistance of any form in any community arts organisation,’ said Ngcobo.
‘I looked at the challenges emerging organisations such as the Social Development Association of South Africa (SODASA), which is the organisation I worked with, face when applying for funding in South Africa, and also looked at how township organisations represent arts and cultural activities in this context, as some are working under a high crime environment and they use arts to alleviate such stigma.’
His presentation also critically examined whether criteria used by funding organisations or government help emerging organisations to sustain themselves.
Student Mr Jose Chemane focused on the service learning experience working with the Consulate of Mozambique in Durban. The theme of the presentation was: "Articulating Cultural and Outreach Programmes through the Consulate of the Republic of Mozambique in Durban".
‘In the course of my Service Learning I played a dual role: to give technical assistance in cultural and other educational matters to the Consulate, and to act as a facilitator/mediator of the traditional music and dance group of immigrants from Mozambique based in Clermont Township. I am currently working with this community in my Honours project research.’
Chemane was assigned to assist a group of traditional dancers from Mozambique - the Xigubo de Bela Vista Group - that were invited to take part at the Umghubu Festival in Durban. He suggested relevant documents the group needed to travel - besides valid passports and permits for the instruments, translated the Group Profile and other documents from Portuguese to English and liaised with the Festival organisers.
‘It was a platform to articulate theory of applied ethnomusicology into practice. I was also assigned to organise an event aiming to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of struggle for National Liberation and the Armed Forces for Defence of Mozambique Day.’
Ms Nontobeko Sibiya examined: "Using capitalisation performance for Educational purposes: collaborating with performers of the Catalina Theatre December Children’s Project. ‘Education is for all and I believe that every child deserves to learn. My goal is take theatre to every child. In my project", I work with performers to educate children as I believe that every child should see all these plays.’
Another topic that was explored was by Ms Thabile Buthelezi who looked at Promoting African Music and Dance together with indigenous instruments through collaborative participation with the BAT Centre staff and facilitators.
Speaking about the joint event, UKZN Lecturer Dr Patricia Opondo said, ‘The event provided an opportunity for Honours Students in the Applied Ethnomusicology programme to present results from their service learning in community arts centres and organisations dealing with culture.’
‘Their research findings will form part of African Music and Dance Archives which is a teaching-research resource initiative that I established in 2007, under the umbrella of the African Music Project, to serve as a repository of research generated from the African Music and Dance and Applied Ethnomusicology Programmes at UKZN.’
‘The event also marks the initial visit to establish a collaborative research project with INET (Instituto de Etnomusicologia - Centro de Estudos em Música e Dança) at the University of Aveiro, Portugal, and it has been a great pleasure hosting Ana Flavia Miguel. During her three-week visit she has made important contributions to the Applied Ethnomusicology and the recently staged 9th Annual African Cultural Calabash at Howard College Theatre.’
During the Culture Week seminar, Opondo and Miguel presented a joint paper titled: "Celebration of Cultural Heritage through Applied Ethnomusicology Projects".