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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Oral performance of Northern Transvaal migrant women
Author:James, DeborahISNI
Periodical:Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:labour migration
Abstract:This article deals with a particular genre of oral performance by rurally-based labour migrants in Northern Transvaal (South Africa), namely the genre called 'kiba'. Focusing in particular on its female version, the article indicates that the relationship between text and context is far from straightforward. From an examination of 'kiba' lyrics alone, without any information on the musicians' background, one might deduce that their composers were entrapped within custom-bounded domestic relationships characterized by extreme dependence. Insight into the singers' social background shows that they are financially independent women, who group together as female migrants within their own independent associations. If one broadens the notion of performance to include not only the lyrics of songs but also the wider field of 'sesotho' or 'set°so' (a whole range of practices and beliefs thought of as customary or traditional) of which they are a part, one can make sense of this apparently anomalous combination of dependence and autonomy. The songs sketch the outlines of a set of customary and rurally-based relationships, but the women singers have assumed for themselves a (male) mantle of dependability which these songs celebrate. Bibliogr., notes, ref.