Dust of the Zulu: Ngoma Aesthetics after Apartheid
Louise Meintjes is Associate Professor of Music and Cultural Anthropology at Duke University and the author of Sound of Africa!Making Music Zulu in a South African Studio, also published by Duke University Press.
TJ Lemon is an award-winning photojournalist based in Johannesburg.
Turning to Be Kissed: Praise, Flirtation, and the Work of Men
This chapter profiles ngoma masculinity as it is represented in a key aesthetic value, isigqi (power). It explains the structure of ngoma performances and key stylistic principles, relating the practice to the expression and cultivation of responsible manhood. Biographies of practitioners reveal migrant laborers caught up in the politics of ethnic nationalism of the late apartheid era and in the stresses of a diminishing labor market. While the ngoma body-voice summarizes this history of work, it is not only about commentary. Sensory immersion in the experience of performing offers the possibility of trying on changing ideas about masculinity. The chapter depicts gendered lyrics, ways of improvising with them, principles of individual competition, and the specification of masculine affects in the praise names to which dancers improvise their moves. As sites of flirtation and courting, ngoma events fold performance about masculine affects into the practice of living them.