African Music, Power, and Being in Colonial Zimbabwe

By Mhoze Chikowero
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Indiana University Press, 2015

ISBN 978-0-253-01803-8

364 Pages


Mhoze Chikowero focuses on African voices and African sources in this new history of music in Zimbabwe. Beginning in the 1930s with music from the segregated dance halls in urban locations and mine compounds and continuing through the 1980s with the years of Chimurenga and the music of Thomas Mapfumo, Chikowero shows Africans using music as a tool in their fight for freedom. Chikowero concentrates on how Africans opened powerful channels to assert indigenous knowledge and resist domination in this stereosonic narrative that offers new perspectives on this well-traveled cultural history.


Introduction: Cross-Cultural Encounters: Song, Power and Being
1. Missionary Witchcrafting African Being: Cultural Disarmament
2. Purging the “Heathen” Song, Mis/Grafting the Missionary Hymn
3. “Too Many Don’ts:” Reinforcing, Disrupting the Criminalization of African Musical Cultures
4. Architectures of Control: African Urban Re/Creation
5. The “Tribal Dance” as a Colonial Alibi: Ethnomusicology and the Tribalization of African Being
6. Chimanjemanje: Performing and Contesting Colonial Modernity
7. The Many Moods of “Skokiaan:” Criminalized Leisure, Underclass Defiance and Self-Narration
8. Usable Pasts: Crafting Madzimbabwe Through Memory, Tradition, Song
9. Cultures of Resistance: Genealogies of Chimurenga Song
10. Jane Lungile Ngwenya: A Transgenerational Conversation
Epilogue: Postcolonial Legacies: Song, Power and Knowledge Production


Mhoze Chikowero is Associate Professor of African History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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