Research Work

The research team records performances of amaXhosa traditions as performed by residents of the villages. It is an aim of the initiative to make these recordings available to researchers and interested members of the public from across the globe. A further aim is for these recordings to be made available to the community members of Keiskammahoek as well as members of a wider public through the use of mobile phone technology and an internet site that has been taking shape in recent months. To promote the cultural heritage of Keiskammahoek, the project aims to support musical collaborations between local musicians and students and staff members from Rhodes University.

The research is being conducted during fieldtrips to the Keiskammahoek area. The research team consists of local fieldworkers of the Ntinga Ntaba kaNdoda Development Centre and staff and students from Rhodes University. The research team from Rhodes is headed by Pamela Maseko, of the African Languages Department, and Lee Watkins of the Ethnomusicology division of the Music & Musicology Department.  Students from Rhodes University participate on a voluntary basis although they are encouraged to be more consistent in their efforts. Research trips started in April 2012 and continued until early 2015. Presently, our fieldwork has yielded more than 1000 gigabytes of data consisting of vocal and instrumental music, dancing, folktales, praise poetry, and interviews; a successful two-day conference, the ‘Keiskammahoek Heritage, Custom, Rights & Development Conference’, was held in February of 2014, and a website is now in the final stages of implementation. Along with the fieldworkers the research team conducts interviews with informants about cultural performances in Keiskammahoek, including aspects within the oral traditions such as music and folktales, as well as cultural practices such as initiation ceremonies, traditional healing, and rituals that involve the ancestors. Questions about relevant social issues are also asked in order to understand these performances within their social contexts. Similarly, the interviews are a start to gaining insight into the lives of the people in the area so that, in the future, social issues, such as the lack of basic services, can be addressed. The interest that the Rhodes University research team has demonstrated in the culture of the residents living in the villages of Keiskammahoek has already resulted in the emergence of what the locals describe as a ‘sense of dignity’ for themselves.

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.