A hobbyist looks at Zulu and Xhosa songs

  • J.F.A. Swartz Professor of Methods of Teaching, University of Stellenbosch
Keywords: Songs, Zulu -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Xhosa -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Composers, Black -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, School songbooks, African


My interest in Bantu songs was that of the singer. I wanted Bantu songs to sing and to teach others to sing. I have not developed the ethnologist's interest in Bantu songs. I have, in other words, not concerned myself with the folklore aspect of Bantu songs. It was development from the primitive to Bantu songs of today that intrigued me. I have, for myself, made three very interesting discoveries. The first is that the language of the Southern Bantu, particularly Xhosa which I have studied, is a wonderful language of song. I have come to regard it as second to none in this respect. I shall return to this point presently. My second discovery was the range of Bantu songs from the point of view of development, or should I say, levels of development. My third discovery follows on because it concerns the host of Bantu song-writers in the Eastern Cape, particularly. I was amazed to find so many educated Xhosas and Zulus, trying their hand at song writing.