Louise Meintjes is Associate Professor of Music and Cultural Anthropology at Duke University and the author of
TJ Lemon is an award-winning photojournalist based in Johannesburg.
The Unwavering Voice: Affect, Eloquence, and the Moral Anger of Men
This chapter explores ulaka (anger), an affect related to the aesthetic value of isigqi (power), to argue the eloquence of the ngoma body-voice. Starting close in by detailing singular moments of artistry, the analysis attends to the strident timbre of the lead voice (team captain), comparing individual versions of the expression of ulaka. Ulaka is a sense of propriety, a justification to act, such as in response to a sung or danced provocation. Ulaka is also sought and cultivated kinetically. The technique of pushing the body to the edge while holding its movement just in control mirrors the principles of a strident voice. The analysis demonstrates the fine line between male authority and violence, both of which are contained in eloquent expression.