The voice of a prisoner: recordings of Joseph Ntwanambi in the Ruhleben Prisoner of War Camp, Berlin, 1917


  • Dave Dargie University of Fort Hare



The Xhosa WWI prisoner of war, Joseph Ntwanambi, whose recordings form the basis of this article, was recorded by two German ethnologists, first on wax cylinder by George Schunemann and then on shellac discs by Wilhelm Doegen and the Odeon recording company. These recordings of Ntwanambi may be the earliest recordings of Xhosa music which are accessible and still in existence. Regarding the prisoner himself, he was clearly recruited into the South African Army after enlisting into the South African Native Labour Corps, and sent to Germany during World War I where he was captured by the Germans and ended up with other African prisoners in the Ruhleben camp.


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How to Cite

Dargie, Dave. 2015. “The Voice of a Prisoner: Recordings of Joseph Ntwanambi in the Ruhleben Prisoner of War Camp, Berlin, 1917”. African Music : Journal of the International Library of African Music 10 (1):180-99.