African Music Ensemble
Established in 1992, the ensemble boasts a varied repertoire of songs, dances and drumming styles from Southern, West and East Africa. The ensemble is open to non-music majors and entrance is by an audition. Each year students have the opportunity to perform in a number of concerts and participate in residencies and workshops with visiting musicians from around the African continent. There are also opportunities for students to compose and arrange their own music and dance for the ensemble.
First Practical Study – African Music and Dance
The course involves practical study in various genres of African music and dance including isicathulo (gumboot dance), maskanda guitar, isicathamiya, ngoma dance (isishameni, isibhaca, umzansi), African xylophones (timbila, amadinda), mbira, umakhweyana gourd bow. In addition to developing performance ability, students examine theories of performance practice and complete a written term project. Group instruction is the teaching method used in the practicals. The teaching staff for these modules are specialists in the various traditions and provide students with opportunities to visit their indigenous communities.
African Music and Dance Outreach Courses
(Education, Community Development, Documentation)
These are upper level undergraduate modules with postgraduate equivalents, and are closely linked with the African Music Project. In the Education module students are introduced to current issues in curriculum development and develop pedagogical materials for teaching African music and dance. The module on Community Development equips the students with skills needed to run community programmes and introduces them to the fields of public-sector ethnomusicology and arts adminsitration. Both the Education and Community Development modules involve placements in schools and community arts centres. The Documentation module involves acquisition of practical skills in data collection and analysis, as well as the production of short ethnographies.
Paulos Msimango Memorial Scholarship in African Music and Dance
Bursaries are available from this fund to students who demonstrate exceptional performance skills and financial need. Several bursaries are awarded each year. If you would like to contribute to the fund contact the African Music Project
African Instrument Collection
This is a growing collection of instruments including timbila xylophones from Mozambique, mbira from Zimbabawe, kudu horns, umakhweyana and ugubhu bows and panpipes from South Africa, amadinda xylophone from Uganda, a variety of drums, harps, rattles and bells from Ghana.
Study Abroad and Exchange Possibilities
In the past our students have been invited to participate in exchange programs in Denmark, Sweden and Germany and Ghana. Visitors from overseas institutions frequently come and study for a semester or a year.
There are career opportunities in performance, promotion, production, education, research and community arts. Our graduates are able to develop African music and dance programs for schools and community centres as well as set up their own community and school projects. Students also have the opportunity to work in the outreach programs of the African Music Project including the teaching training programme, research and documentation unit, and annual African Music and Dance Showcase. Many students during their studies undertake various performance opportunities in South Africa and abroad.