Kronos: Southern African Histories 2024-06-10T07:38:09+00:00 Janine Brandt Open Journal Systems <p><em>Kronos: Southern African Histories</em> is published annually by the Dept of History and the Centre for Humanities Research at UWC. It is an accredited South African journal that aims to promote and publicise high quality historical research on southern Africa. The journal also encourages comparative studies and seeks to break new ground in its dynamic integration of visuals and text.</p> Houses on Fire: The Hauntologies of Sankomota 2024-06-06T09:31:46+00:00 Warrick Swinney <p>The following essay is part of a body of work titled Signal to Noise: sound and fury in (post)apartheid South Africa. These are a collection of creative nonfiction essays set against the backdrop of my involvement with a small, independent mobile recording studio based in Johannesburg between 1983 and 1997. The metaphor of a drowning signal, pushing through and making itself heard above the noise, resonates throughout the collection. The complexities of the political versus artistic nature of what we were involved with provide a setting for an anecdotal approach to what is part history, part biography, part memoir and part theoretical sonic exploration. The following essay falls into this approach and is constructed from memories enhanced by diaries, scrapbooks, shards of notes, lyrics, photos and conversations. These have been employed in reconstructing a narrative arc that covers the recording of the first album made by the band Sankomota, who were banned from entry into South Africa and were based in Maseru, mostly playing to audiences at one of the leading hotels. Sankomota, then called Uhuru, experienced extraordinary, almost metaphysical, peaks and troughs throughout their nearly thirty-year existence hence the hauntological device in the title.&nbsp; The record was also the first made in our fledgling mobile studio using newly affordable equipment that kickstarted many such do-it-yourself projects worldwide. This was the first in a steady stream of technologies that would eventually break the hegemony of mainstream record companies. In apartheid South Africa, this was hugely significant, as being able to sideline the censorship of state-owned media enterprises meant immense freedom in the kind of projects one came to consider. Savage incidents of force and brutality were still common then, and our small venture has to be seen in the context of broader unrest and suffering. Frank Leepa was an uncompromising survivor. His words and melodies still move and inspire a younger generation.&nbsp;</p> 2024-06-07T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 If you love me when I’m breathing; you don’t love me when I’m dead? 2024-06-07T06:44:23+00:00 Emma Minkley <p>This article looks to the form of the puppet, both an oral and aural entity, as a receptacle or instrument which allows for a ventriloquism to take place in partnership with the puppeteer. In the work of South African Handspring Puppet Company, the puppet is a receptacle for sound, but also for the human body itself – a chamber within a chamber – highlighting the instrumentalisation of the body. In this regard, the article looks to Handspring’s I Love You When You’re Breathing, particularly in reference to a comment once made by an audience member at a performance of the show that I watched in relation to the title; ‘If you love me when I’m breathing; you don’t love me when I’m dead?’ In the practice of puppetry there is a focus on the ways the puppeteer conveys life in the puppet. Here, breath is significant as a sound, but more so as a movement, passed from puppeteer to puppet, a kind of bellows or organ. The ‘life’ of the puppet is discerned through the rhythmic breathing motions of the puppeteer. Here the aural is conveyed through movement, rather than through sound itself, which is further a reminder that sound is at its core a movement anyway, a vibration. What can be opened up if we are to think the oral/aural through the puppet in its relation to movement and stillness, life and death?</p> 2024-06-07T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 ‘Echoes From Africa’: Abdullah Ibrahim’s Black Sonic Geography 2024-06-07T10:22:13+00:00 Molemo Ramphalile Thabang Manyike Gregory Maxaulane <p>This article aims to listen, read and move with the South African musician Abdullah Ibrahim by focusing on various works in his corpus that see him weave together a sonic aesthetic and identify sound, space and time as fundamentally intertwined with and constituted by the experiences of racial violence and anti-blackness in a modern colonial world. Part of our critical pursuit is to highlight Abdullah Ibrahim as a theorist of black geography invested in the everyday sounds ringing through the ghettoes, townships and reserves created as debased and inexhaustible reservoirs for cheap labour by colonial-apartheid regimes. We will also examine how some of Abdullah Ibrahim’s music interrogates the status of the black subject through the modalities of a black Islamic sonic aesthetic. This is one of the factors which qualifies it as a layered site of mythical and experimental histories and enables us to identify his body of work as deeply connected with the articulations of loss, suffering, the cadence of change, and hope.</p> 2024-06-10T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Shared Reflections Offered by Listening to Johnny Mbizo Dyani’s Born Under the Heat 2024-06-07T12:42:32+00:00 Sinazo Mtshemla Ben Verghese <p>Originally written as a lecture-presentation for the 2021 South African Society for Research in Music (SASRIM) conference, this text shares our ongoing collaborative study of Born Under the Heat, an album by Johnny Mbizo Dyani. Our research tracks the record(ings) to mark potential pathways for thinking about networks of sociality and solidarity that underpin the production of such politicised cultural work, as well as how we listen to and/or may read it. We trace how the album, recorded in 1983, was born out of festival-gatherings in Lagos, Gaborone and Amsterdam as well as Dyani’s memories/remembering of home (from Duncan Village to Dorkay House, perhaps) when exiled in Scandinavia. By reiterating literal and symbolic modes of travel which Born Under the Heat took, as an object and as a concept/project, we aim to explore multiple routes and forms archival, repatriation and restitution projects continue to find in the postapartheid present.</p> 2024-06-10T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Public Culture, Sociality, and Listening to Jazz: Aural Memorialisation in the Time of COVID 2024-06-10T06:34:35+00:00 Brett Pyper <p>Taking its cue from two instances of hyper-local jazz sociability along one street in Mamelodi, five years apart, the focus of this article is on three instances of public memorialisation and, through them, on how listening can be socialised and enculturated. It is an exploration both of how sociality is co-constituted through listening, and of how listening is socially constructed, attending to how people become members of aural collectives in distinctive ways. It foregrounds how mostly working-class people living under conditions seldom of their own making continue, in the avowedly postapartheid context, at least partially to remake their worlds sonically, foregrounding the public cultures that they thereby aurally co-create as a notable cultural expression in and of themselves. Methodologically, it considers how recourse to non-elite aesthetics, viewed as repertoires of living, offer alternatives to the claims of both ethnographies and social histories ‘from below’ to present ‘the word’ of the community’ in an authoritative sense.</p> 2024-06-10T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Oral/Aural: Pastness and Sound as Medium and Method 2024-06-10T06:46:56+00:00 Aidan Erasmus Valmont Layne <p>In archival footage uploaded online of a concert at the University of the Western Cape in 1988 musician Robbie Jansen declared that the next composition to be performed was named ‘Freedom Where Have You Been’.1 Before counting the band in, Jansen offered a short discourse on the meaning of the phrase hoya chibongo. Hearing the Afrikaans hoorie (meaning listen here) in the expression hoya, Jansen proceeded to split up the word chibongo to accentuate chi- as aurally reminiscent of the suffix -tjie that is used in Afrikaans to mark the diminutive. bongo, in this context as Jansen remarked, is the drum, leading Jansen to exclaim that the phrase hoya chibongo means to ‘listen to the (small) drum’, the drum that is, according to Jansen, ‘the truth’. In Jansen’s exact words, ‘the drum speaks the truth and the drum has always been our language before these funny words that we are speaking now’.</p> 2024-06-10T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 A Mercy: Two Books by Hanif Abdurraqib 2024-06-07T12:19:13+00:00 Bongani Kona <p>Hanif Abdurraqib is always alert to those moments when ordinary life gets inhabited by the presence of something larger. Perhaps this is why his writing on music and pop culture in the US is furnished with words like grace, mercy, prayer. Consider for instance how an otherwise ordinary domestic scene is transformed into something holy in the poem, ‘When We Were 13, Jeff’s Father Left the Needle Down on a Journey Record Before Leaving the House One Morning and Never Coming Back’. Abdurraqib recasts this episode from his childhood in Columbus,&nbsp;Ohio, in the 90s, as a religious experience, an exorcism.</p> 2024-06-10T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Elizabeth Gunner, Radio Soundings: South Africa and the Black Modern 2024-06-07T12:55:16+00:00 Siyanda Kobokana <p>In the face of the Zondo Commission’s horrific and horrifying news about the capture of state-owned enterprises such as Eskom, Prasa, and SABC, commentators claim the capture was the outcome of Jacob Zuma’s ‘nine squandered years’. The same capture similarly happened under apartheid. Furthermore, the apartheid state wielded considerable control and regulation over state firms through its regulatory and control mechanisms. During apartheid South Africa, prior to the years of what we now term state capture, a special capture of the Black people’s voice occurred, as did a special capture of the auditory, a capture of SABC radio sound by apartheid authorities. This was a state capture of a different kind, one meant for control rather than corruption. As a state-owned corporation, the SABC, I would argue, was likewise captured by the apartheid regime with this level of control. Radio capture became a significant instrument for the apartheid regime as they sought&nbsp;to dominate the Black community through domination rather than consent.</p> 2024-06-10T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Iingoma Zomzabalazo in Conversation: An Archival Engagement with Recordings of Liberation Songs 2024-06-10T07:11:44+00:00 Lukhanyo Ka Dideka Ka Dideka Ben Verghese <p>This text is a remix of an archival engagement with recordings/performanc- es of ‘freedom songs’ or ‘liberation songs’ in a south or southern African context. The authors began this collaborative research project as part of a course in the Masters in History degree programme at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). The essay includes a re-edited, updated transcript of dialogue the authors shared along with two mix(tap)es they produced together. The conversation speaks of songs as archives, archives of song(s), and memory/ies pertaining to anti-Apartheid struggle and ongoing Fallism.</p> 2024-06-10T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024