Category A - Academic Book

Christopher Ballantine

Marabi Nights: Jazz, 'race' and Society in Early Apartheid South Africa 

The second edition of Christopher Ballantine's classic Marabi nights - Jazz, 'race' and society presents a fascinating view of the marabi jazz tradition in South African popular music to a new generation of music fans and scholars of cultural studies, politics and music. Based on conversations with legendary figures in the world of music as well as a perceptive reading of music, its socio-political history and social meanings, Ballantine's project is one of sensitive and impassioned curatorship. An accompanying CD of recordings from the 1930s and 1940s yields almost forgotten treasures. A selection of archival images gives the narrative further resonance. The second edition contains a new chapter on the Manhattan Brothers and singing groups' adaptation of the American close harmony tradition. Through the prism of popular music, the new edition also goes further in its discussion of gender in the context of forced migrant labour in the 1950s.

Christopher Ballantine is Emeritus LG Joel Professor of Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a Fellow of the University, and an internationally acclaimed researcher and writer on music. His books and articles tend to be cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, and cover a wide range of issues in the fields of musicology, popular music studies, the sociology of music, and ethnomusicology.

UKZN Master of Music student Prince Bulo won the prestigious 2014 SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition in the Jazz Music category. He received the lucrative R170 000 award to further his music studies abroad. 

On 30 August 2014, the Wits Great Hall in Braamfontein resounded with vibrant music when the original compositions of the four scholarships finalists were performed during a special Concert Evening. The Orbit Big Band from the Orbit Jazz Club in Braamfontein performed both Jazz Music compositions that were in contention for top honours: April 14 by Kingsley Buitendag – a composer, pianist, bass player and lecturer based in the Eastern Cape – and Bass’d in Africa by Prince Bulo. Both candidates had been merit or runner-up award winners in previous SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competitions.

Dedicating this, the 53rd SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition, to pioneering composers both past and present, SAMRO Foundation managing director André le Roux noted: “The path of the pioneer and the innovative thinker is seldom a smooth one, but as long as we embrace the artists, creators, novel troublemakers, inventors, rebels and revolutionaries in our midst, there is hope for the state of our arts sector.”

Nozuko Teto 

Nozuko Teto, a graduate of our Opera Studio and Choral Academy (OSCA), was the soprano prizewinner of the 2013 “Toti Dal Monte” Competition, held in Treviso, Italy. As prizewinner, she was given the role of Mimì in a production of La Bohème that toured through five Italian cities. The renowned opera critic Max Loppert saw her performance in Ferrara, where the tour ended recently. In an article in OPERA [London] he writes: “What became clear from this performance is that [Nozuko is] a born exponent of the role, bothphysically and with a timbre at once exquisitely velvety and gentle… Particularly in the final two acts she proved herself an authentic and deeply moving Puccini soprano.”

Insurrections Cover b 


THE 17th Poetry Africa International Poetry Festival took place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, from October 14 to October 18 2013.

Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts, the annual festival is a showcase of written and performance poetry.

This year, the line-up featured a ground-breaking poetry project: the live performance of a 12-track CD titled Insurrections featuring poets and musicians from India and South Africa. The blend of the rich Indian music tradition with African instruments accompanied poetry from both continents.

The Insurrections ensemble consists of Brydon Bolton (South Africa), Jürgen Bräuninger (UKZN), Sumangala Damodaran (India), Sazi Dlamini (UKZN), Pritam Ghoshal (India), Neo Muyanga (South Africa), Vivek Narayanan (India), Malika Ndlovu (South Africa), Paki Peloeole (South Africa), Tina Schouw (South Africa), Ari Sitas (South Africa), and Sabita T.P. (India).





New Music Indaba


Thursday 10 - Sunday 13

Howard College Theatre


 Leap of Faith poster  

Leap of Faith CD 

debuts at the South African Association for Jazz Education Conference September 13-15 2013 at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Centre for Jazz and Popular Music in Durban. CD sales at

The disc was recorded live in the U.S. and South Africa as part of the initial year of VCU's collaborative project with UKZN.




SAJE Jazz Festival

13-15 September 2013



A spectacular line-up awaits those who attend the 3rd SAJE Jazz Festival. Established in 2009, the biennial SAJE Jazz Festival celebrates local and international jazz and jazz education. This year the festival will be held at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban from 13 to 15 September.

Included in the three days are a diverse group of world-class jazz artists, educators and jazz bands with collaborative performances at the Hilton Arts Festival, The Jazzy Rainbow (concerts and jam sessions) and at the Rainbow Restaurant in Pinetown. The SAJE Jazz Festival line-up will appeal to jazz lovers across all demographics – giving everyone the opportunity to attend a concert or workshop.


Renowned anthropologist, dancer, singer and songwriter Johnny Clegg had the audience singing along to a traditional Zulu war song when receiving an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University on 16 April 2013.

Clegg was honoured during the College of Humanities Graduation ceremony for his sensitive and inspiring promotion of South African culture, music and history at home and abroad, and for his success in uniting South Africans and bringing pride and hope to South Africa.

‘The tradition of street music I stumbled upon had been forged over decades of experimentation as the ebb and flow of migration to Johannesburg and Durban exposed the migrants to new ideas and formats,’ he told his audience about his early musical years.

‘I was amazed at the innovative manner in which western instruments were thoroughly Africanised. The guitar developed from a strumming style (ukuvamba) to a highly sophisticated picking style (Ukupika). Whereas the guitar could simply be re-tuned and strings changed around, the concertina had to be physically taken apart and all the buttons changed around in order to play Zulu music,’ said Clegg.

Clegg is known as one of South Africa’s greatest musical exports and has been in the music industry for over 40 years. Sharing his musical journey with the UKZN audience, he said: ‘I often did not know what I was singing, but I had a musical ear and I could pronounce Zulu perfectly in a melody ... This led to some awkward moments where I rendered some very lewd, bawdy and explicit songs with the innocence of a 15-year-old, which made my audience at the hostels laugh until they cried, saying “play it again, play it again!” And I would play it again, happy that they found my performance so intensely moving,’ he said.

With a critical eye on South Africa’s racial imbalances, Clegg has promoted a unique pride in African heritage in a way that reconciles rather than tears apart. At the height of apartheid he made possible what seemed impossible: a celebratory ideological and artistic model for tolerance and human brotherhood, against the backdrop of divisive racial policies.

Clegg’s career includes lecturing Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand where he also worked on blending English lyrics and Western melodies with Zulu musical structures. South African music producer Hilton Rosenthal then signed up Clegg and his musical associate and friend, Sipho Mchunu, at a time when there was official prejudice against mixed race groups.

Clegg – who campaigned consistently against the injustices of apartheid and was instrumental in putting the new South Africa on the world map – has performed at all four of Nelson Mandela’s 46664 AIDS Awareness Concerts in South Africa and Norway.

‘If there is a continuity in the work I have done, it is this underlying idea of crossing boundaries and mixing competing approaches. It forms the background and influence in the crossing over of musical forms in most of the music I have composed,’ Clegg said.

This was an attitude and approach to culture, he explained, which finds resonance in Levi-Strauss’ notion of “bricolage” - being a cultural handyman and fixing the changing world with anything at hand. ‘That has given life and meaning to what I do,’ he said.

In addition to a number of international awards and honorary degrees, Clegg’s South African awards include the Four Outstanding South Africans Award in 1990; an honorary doctorate from Wits University in 2007; a SA Music Association nomination for the Best Live DVD in 2008, and the Order of Ikhamanga in 2012 for his ‘excellent contribution to and achievement in the field of bridging African traditional music forms, promoting racial understanding … working for a non-racial society and being an outstanding spokesperson for the release of political prisoners’.

updated 5 November 2014 by Jurgen Brauninger 

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