• Dust of the Zulu: Ngoma Aesthetics after Apartheid

    Contributor(s): TJ Lemon
    Pages: 352
    Illustrations: 142 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • Preface  ix
    Acknowledgments  xi
    Introduction. The Politics of Participation in Ngoma Song and Dance  1
    1. Turning to Be Kissed: Praise, Flirtation, and the Work of Men  28
    2. The Unwavering Voice: Affect, Eloquence, and the Moral Anger of Men  62
    3. Feet of the Centipede: Military Aesthetics and the Politics of Reconciliation  94
    4. To Quell the Dancer's Dust: Singing Violence during South Africa's Transition  124
    5. The Crossing: World Music and Ngoma at Home  151
    6. Dancing Around Disease: Silence, Ambiguity, and Brotherhood  182
    7. The Digital Homestead: Having a Voice and the Sound of Marginalization  210
    8. Brokering the Body: Culture, Heritage, and the Pleasure of Participation  240
    Closing. Ngoma's Masculinity, South Africa's Struggle  266
    Notes  273
    References  307
    Index  329
  • TJ Lemon

  • "Studies of African performance remain far too few; this one sets a very high bar. Essential."

    "Crackling with energy and erudition, Dust of the Zulu now vivifies ngoma for the academy."


  • Winner, 2018 Gregory Bateson Prize, presented by the Society for Cultural Anthropology

  • Reviews

  • "Studies of African performance remain far too few; this one sets a very high bar. Essential."

    "Crackling with energy and erudition, Dust of the Zulu now vivifies ngoma for the academy."

  • Dust of the Zulu is hands-down among the very best ethnographic works ever written on the politics of aesthetics. Commanding, rewarding, challenging, and shattering in turns, equally gorgeous and unflinching in its evocations, it is above all poignant and virtuosic in its performance of criticism and compassion. This is a hugely important book for South African history and aesthetics, for anthropologies of the body and voice, for cultural studies of music, sound, and dance, and for experimental ethnographic writing and imaging. A stunning book.” — Steven Feld, author of, Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra: Five Musical Years in Ghana

    “Louise Meintjes brilliantly salvages Zulu dancers from the demeaning, colonialist stereotypes of sweating, bellicose, and largely anonymous men. Readers who have long been frustrated by the dearth of serious studies of African dance will welcome her comprehensive theoretical grasp, analytical rigor, and sheer intellectual potency. A terrific work that will have a lasting impact, Dust of the Zulu will reinvigorate dance and performance studies everywhere. Meintjes makes South African studies proud.” — Veit Erlmann, author of, Music, Modernity, and the Global Imagination: South Africa and the West

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  • Description

    In Dust of the Zulu Louise Meintjes traces the political and aesthetic significance of ngoma, a competitive form of dance and music that emerged out of the legacies of colonialism and apartheid in South Africa. Contextualizing ngoma within South Africa's history of violence, migrant labor, the HIV epidemic, and the world music market, Meintjes follows a community ngoma team and its professional subgroup during the twenty years after apartheid's end. She intricately ties aesthetics to politics, embodiment to the voice, and masculine anger to eloquence and virtuosity, relating the visceral experience of ngoma performances as they embody the expanse of South African history. Meintjes also shows how ngoma helps build community, cultivate responsible manhood, and provide its participants with a means to reconcile South Africa's past with its postapartheid future. Dust of the Zulu includes over one hundred photographs of ngoma performances, the majority taken by award-winning photojournalist TJ Lemon.

    About The Author(s)

    Louise Meintjes is Associate Professor of Music and Cultural Anthropology at Duke University and the author of Sound of Africa! Making Music Zulu in a South African Studio, also published by Duke University Press.

    TJ Lemon is an award-winning photojournalist based in Johannesburg.
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