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Title:Pop singer as healer: the use of Xhosa lyrics as cultural self-realization
Authors:Dowling, Tessa
Stinson, KathrynISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Cultural Studies (ISSN 1369-6815)
Geographic term:South Africa
Xhosa language
healing rites
About person:Siphokazi Buti
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13696815.2012.638021
Abstract:This article examines the significance of the vocation to divinership ('ukuthwasa') for a contemporary Xhosa Afro-soul artist, Camagwini (real name Siphokazi Buti), from the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The authors explore the singer's calling and the way in which she blurs the boundaries between what it means to be a traditional Xhosa healer and what it means to be a contemporary singer who chooses to sing in Xhosa about Xhosa cultural practices. The healing power of the vernacular is not explicitly declared, although her lyrics suggest that it is through singing in Xhosa that she can best realize her potential as a healer. The authors demonstrate that the singer's choice of a culturally specific non-secular lexicon firmly situates her within an ideological framework that underscores a commitment to, and belief in, a social experience specific to Xhosa healers. They further examine the disjuncture created by the absence of a traditional divination musical style in songs which nevertheless overtly declare an allegiance to a spiritual journey marked by a particular musical tradition. Finally they question the relevance and significance of the diviner calling to young, urban Xhosa speakers and their reaction to a popular singer making her calling public through her music. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]