What we have learnt about the Zulu culture and the Zulu History has more often than not been described through the eyes of our former colonial masters, it is time for us to reclaim our heritage and rewrite our histories, the purposes of this blog is to examine the Zulu culture and open up debate and dialogue on its importance and impacts today.
The Zulu music genre “maskandi” is a form of music created by the migrant labourers from the province of Natal, who were scattered all over the country in various industries as cheap labour for the then diabolical white government of South Africa. The lyrics expressed the hardships of living in the hostels, the nostalgia of life in the rural areas, the pains of love, the hardships of living far from home amongst other topics.
This type of music is usually accompanied by an acoustic and bass guitar, a concertina and sometimes an accordion. These types of instrumentals were adopted from the Boer folk music which some of the labourers had the fortune of listening to and it was then that the music of their oppressors was turned into a tool for expression.
Maskandi artists have become highly popular in the South African music scene as some of them have broken records and sold the most number of albums in a year, these are artist like Shwi Nomtekhala and Phuzekhemisi amongst various others.
Maskandi artists have also had their fair share of controversy, with rivalries springing up between different artist like Bhekumuzi Luthuli and Thokozani langa both very prominent artists within this genre.
There is also the story of Mtshengiseni and Mgqumeni, the later being “resurrected” Tupac style by an impostor by the name of “Gcabashe”. And their rivalry had accusations of witchcraft and the like.
Deny it or not, maskandi is a force to be reckoned with in the South African music industry and a form of music that has attracted much interest around the world.