By Lindeka Namba, School of Journalism and Media studies student
On Thursday, 20 May, Rhodes University and the International Library of African Music (ILAM) launch a new podcast series called African Music Activists. The series will showcase some of Africa’s most dedicated and influential music activists.
Rhodes University Music Lecturer and host of the podcast series, Boudina McConnachie, said the initiative was inspired by her former University of Cape Town (UCT) African music teacher, Dizu Plaatjie. After falling in love with the genre, McConnachie believes that all music students at South African universities should have the opportunity to study African music. “The podcasts are a ‘thank you’ to all the people who have been such an important part of the journey to preserving African music,” she said.
The aim of the podcast series is two-fold. Firstly, the show aims to get a greater reach through podcasting since people nowadays seem to prefer listening to reading information. Secondly, the goal is to get people to listen to the music and share it with their communities.
McConnachie believes that it is important for all Southern Africans to know about these music activists, because it is through their efforts that we still have as much indigenous and traditional African music as we do today. This podcast series is set up to amplify their stories, their causes and their voices to the wider African society.
Each episode will explore the music and the stories of the wonderful musicians who have dedicated their lives to keeping African music alive, evolving, and heard. The guests will include Xhosa musician and UCT African music professor, Dizu Plaatjies; Xhosa musical bows performer and Rhodes University honorary doctorate recipient, Madosini; expert African musician and linguist, Andrew Tracey; public-sector ethnomusicologist and African music and dance lecturer, Patricia Opondo; and Chopi music activist and teacher, Venancio Mbande.
On the show, the activists will share the stories of how they became traditional African musicians and activists, what they think their contribution has been to African music and what they think the future of African music is. All the episodes will have music performed by the guests, with the show's host calling it the “highlight of the podcast”. The music weaves the story of each guest seamlessly through the podcast.
McConnachie acknowledges the immense contribution of producer and former Rhodes University School of Journalism Lecturer, Jane Morgan for the realisation of the vision. McConnachie also stated that listeners can expect a very high-end production that will not disappoint avid lovers of African music.
Those interested in listening to the podcast series can find it by searching for African Music Activists on their preferred podcast platform or listening on IONO FM, Player FM, Pocket Casts, and Spotify. They can also expect to receive regular updates by liking, sharing and following the African Music Activists page on Facebook.