Rhodes University’s ILAM to shine at the National Arts Festival this year

Thandeka Mfinyongo, a PhD student in Ethnomusicology, plays uhadi and umrhubhe.
Thandeka Mfinyongo, a PhD student in Ethnomusicology, plays uhadi and umrhubhe.

A staff member and two students from Rhodes University’s International Library of African Music (ILAM) will be stars of their own show during the National Arts Festival (NAF) in Makhanda this year.

After two years of being forced to move the event predominantly online, NAF will once again be mainly showcasing in-person shows this year. The Festival will take place between 23 June 2022 and 03 July 2022.


Two of the ILAM shows will form part of the Curated Programme.

Thandeka Mfinyongo, a PhD student in Ethnomusicology, will be performing “Ingoduko”.

With her band and a guest appearance by jazz musician Dumza Maswana, Mfinyongo will be performing vocals and uhadi and umrhubhe.

“Ingoduko aims to afford people access to information and skills centred around singing and playing indigenous instruments. Furthermore, it aims to document and archive the music for future generations and inspire holistic documentation of indigenous music of different cultures.”


Boudina McConnachie, Senior Lecturer of Ethnomusicology, will be collaborating on a sound exhibition with Dr Dylan McGarry, a Senior Researcher at the Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC), called “Our ocean is sacred, you can’t mine heaven”.

“This collaboratively curated exhibition will offer two artist walkabouts, which will provide festival-goers an opportunity to participate in a public dialogue and informal tribunal around the wellbeing of our ocean heritages and an exploration into how ocean decision making should take place.”

Other collaborators include Makhanda-based photographer Luke Kaplan, Michaela Howse from the Keiskamma Art Project, and the Woodstock Art Reef Project: Abundance.


The third ILAM show will be included in the Fringe Programme.

Nombasa Maqoko, a Masters student in Ethnomusicology, will be performing original songs from her self-titled album, “Nombasa”. Makhanda-born, this talented singer/songwriter, produces “soulful music that evokes emotion and simultaneously celebrates life and diversity”.

This songstress has shared stages with Msaki, Asanda Mqiki, Zahara, Nkunz’ eMdaka, Blessing Chimanda, Vusi Mahlasela, and others.

In 2016, her debut performance in the Fringe Programme at NAF earned her an Ovation Award, followed by the Cape Fringe Bronze award.


More information and ticket sales for these shows can be found on the NAF website: https://nationalartsfestival.co.za