17 Nov Chimurenga Intersections
Mhoze Chikowero (History, UCSB)
Thomas Mapfumo (Blacks Unlimited)
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Book Launch: MultiCultural Center, 5:00-6:00 PM
Blacks Unlimited Concert: Storke Plaza, 7:00-10:00 PM
Mhoze Chikowero is a historian of Zimbabwe and Southern Africa. His book, African Music, Power and Being in Colonial Zimbabwe, documents the history of African music in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa while critiquing ethnomusicology’s colonial origins and use as a tool, which the white settler regimes deployed to colonize Africans through their music and performative cultures. Working closely with Christian missionaries and ethnomusicologists, the colonial state suppressed or subverted indigenous performative cultures, particularly the sacred mbira instrument and music. This drove the music underground and helped radicalize it, giving rise to Chimurenga (self-liberation) music that mobilized for the liberation struggle that eventually threw of the colonial regime in 1980. Featured prominently in the book, Thomas Mapfumo was one of the leading guerrilla artists who pioneered this mbira-driven musical genre.
Chikowero’s book has just been selected as winner of J. H. Kwabena Nketia book award for 2014-16 by the Society of Ethnomusicology. Named in honor of 95-year-old Ghanaian Professor Nketia, a luminous music scholar and performer, the award recognizes a book that most critically advances or challenges ethnomusicology as a discipline. The book talk-musical performance advances an African multimodal approach to self-authorship, which brings together scholarship and musical performance onto the same space and critiques the reified epistemological hegemony of western intellectuals’ utilizing African practitioners as mere informants.
Sponsorsed by the IHC’s African Studies RFG, PASU, the Dept. of History, the Center for Black Studies Research, the Dept. of Black Studies, Academic Initiatives, the Center for Cold War and International Studies, EVC’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Academic Policy, and the Office of the HFA Dean.