Cum Laude for Honours Graduate
Ms Nomfundo Zuma was ecstatic to receive her Honours in Applied Ethnomusicology cum laude. Her dissertation topic was: The role of music in traditional Sangoma ceremonies and Zionist church services as a medium that connects humans to spirits.
‘In my experience there is a lack of tolerance between those who are aligned with the Christian churches and those who follow traditional religious ideals. Each feels the other is spiritually dysfunctional,’ explained Zuma.
‘My study built a bridge between them to portray clear understanding of the two religious practices (the Sangoma tradition and Christian Zion religion), using music as a tool to show what they do alike and what makes them differ.’
She believes her study will promote understanding of the reasons for spiritual songs. ‘People should realise the purpose of music and what it does to them so they will know when to sing certain songs. Most authors discuss music and spirituality topics but do not touch on the gaps that have been created by people who want their religion to dominate with the mindset that theirs is better than other religions,’ said Zuma.
She hopes that people will recognise that difference should be celebrated rather than condemned. ‘People should look at music as more than an entertainment form but start to consider the sentiments that goes with it. Each emotion is attached to a certain music genre depending on your music superior. Music touches people at a personal level. My work will provide spiritual understanding between people from different religions. It should change one’s perspective about another person’s religion.’
Zuma is currently enrolled for her Master’s degree in Applied Ethnomusicology and aims to once again graduate cum laude.
She expressed her appreciation to her family and friends.
Her supervisor, Dr Patricia Opondo, said: ‘Nomfundo’s research is self-reflexive and breaking new ground as well as teaching students how to document indigenous dance choreographies as they change over time.’
Words: Melissa Mungroo
Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal