- Series F: Indigenous Knowledge and Religion
- GR 276
- Start time:
- 11 September, 2008 at 16:00 (UTC+0)
- Session slots:
Author:Bernhard Bleibinger (University of Fort Hare)
Paper long abstract:
Since its launch at the University of Fort Hare, in 2003, the mission of the Indigenous Music and Oral History Project (IMOHP) has been the conservation and promotion of indigenous culture, and in terms of this aim research has been undertaken in rural villages of the Eastern Cape. Conservation has meant the interviewing of older people and recording their “traditional“ knowledge on musical practice, terminology and musical instruments. This knowledge is still an essential component of the music modules offered at the Music Department of the University of Fort Hare, and it is promoted above all within so-called “community outreach projects”, i.e. workshops organised by the researchers in order to make people again familiar with their own culture.
Nevertheless there are some more aspects to be considered nowadays. Indigenous music, as recent recearch trips brought to light, plays a fundamental role in local strategies. Groups such as the Nzenzeleni Performing Group or the Melani Confirmation Choir use it in order to transmit traditional values and to inform children and juvenile people about AIDS, the abuse of drugs and even crime.
As a consequence the IMOHP is slightly readjusting its focus in observing the above-mentioned local strategies, and in this context also the work of diviners as well as clashes between tradition and modernity.
Author:Friday Okon (University of Uyo)
Paper long abstract:
The Ibibio people are one of many smaller ethnic groups that occupy the South-South geo-political zone or Niger Delta region of Nigeria. In recent times, this oil rich region has caught news media headlines world wide for blood-letting, attrition, kidnapping and violence. Nevertheless, Akwa Ibom State (which is the home state of the Ibibio) seems to enjoy relative calm, an island of peace in a sea of violence, bloodshed and conflict. What seems responsible for this situation is the Ibibio oral tradition and world view which are equally expressed in Ibibio popular culture. This paper intends to examine modern Ibibio popular music with a view to analysing the lyrics of selected songs in order to distill the world view of the Ibibio (which is philosophically pacifist) to demonstrate that their world view is the informing spirit that has made the state to be calmer and less violent than its sister states in the Niger Delta region. This calm disposition has upset the other Niger Delta states in question, who have failed to understand why Akwa Ibom State has not imbibed and followed their violent dispositions. This paper is based on the on going research by the writer into the oral poetry of the Ibibio. The researcher is of the view that the Ibibio are less warlike and violent as a result of their oral tradition and worldview that abhor violence and destruction of human life in all its ramifications. This view can be extended to the rest of Africa (which is conflict ridden) to go back to its oral traditions as one of the viable sources for conflict resolution through dialogue.
Author:Gabriele Mohale (University of the Witwatersrand)
Paper long abstract:
This paper is based on a Masters study presently undertaken, and it engages in the archival discourse around the ‘Archives of Memory’, a concept initially raised by Jacques Derrida, referring to the human memory as an Archive. This particular archival discourse is situated against the background of what is widely debated as a possible change, distortion and loss of oral traditions, said to undermine the culture and social fabric of black South African communities. A number of initiatives therefore aim to capture accounts of oral traditions, for storage and preservation in the conventional archival institution. The study enters this debate with the example of the deeply rooted cultural tradition of ‘Lobolo’ or ‘Magadi’, as a case to explain its firm place in memory and its dependency on oral transmission, thereby acknowledging the dynamics, fluidity and continuities of cultural practices. ‘Lobolo’/’Magadi’ refers to the conclusion of the legal act of marriage, establishing the relationship between the two families and the status of the bridegroom in future. This tradition is strictly guided by language and transmitted entirely through the spoken word. This is why it is so well suited for the critical engagement with and the deconstruction of the western concept of the archive. Thus, this paper is firmly placed in the context of Post colonialism and demonstrates the need for not only the accommodation, but also the acceptance of the ‘Archives of Memory’ as an archival institution of equal standing to the western conventional archive.