'Bahlabelelelani-Why do they sing? Gender and power in contemporary women's songs'

Posted on October 01, 2020

Towards the end of 2020, Prof Mpume Zondi published a monograph deconstructed from her PhD thesis. The  book and the thesis share the title,
'Bahlabelelelani-Why do they sing? Gender and power in contemporary women's songs'


This book presents the findings of an enquiry into the nature of women's contemporary songs, as exemplified in the rural community of Zwelibomvu, near Pinetown in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It aims to answer the question, 'Bahlabelelelani-Why do they sing?', drawing on a variety of discourses of gender and power to examine the content and purposes of songs (Zondi, 2020). 


'A fresh and intimate portrait of women's songs in contemporary rural KwaZulu-Natal. Zondi's work critically interrogates the multifaceted reasons why women sing. It recognises the complexity of oral performances that both challenge and reproduce the everyday norms of gender oppression and inequality. Bahlabelelelani is a valuable and much needed addition to cultural studies of oral traditions and literary performance.' (by an American based scholar, Emily Margaretten, author of Street Life under a Roof: Youth Homelessness in South Africa)  


'Seziyosengwa yinkehli! (There is power in a woman's voice). This inspriring book by a woman writer gives other women a platform to tell their stories int the best African way possible-ngomculo (through music)' Boni Zungu, Senior Lecturer African Languages, University of the Witwatersrand'

- Author Prof NB Zondi
Published by Benjamin Tshwaane

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