Umakhweyane: A Musical bow and its contribution to Zulu music


  • Dave Dargie University of Fort Hare, Alice



Nearly all musical bows used in the indigenous music of southern Africa are single string melody instruments. The player uses the overtones of the string to produce melody. This is done in various ways according to how the bows are constructed, what sort of resonator is used, and how the bow is played. Some bows have an attached resonator, with others the player uses her/his mouth as resonator. Bows may be played by percussion (striking the string), by plucking, and by friction (rubbing the string or the bow stick).


Campbell, J. 1815 Travels in South Africa, London: Black Parry

Dargie, D.
1988 Xhosa music, Capetown: David Philip
1996 “African Methods of Music Education”, in African music, 7(3)

Joseph, R. 1983 “Zulu Women’s Music”, in African music, 6(3):53-90

Kirby, P.R. 1968 The musical Instruments o f the Native Races o f South Africa, Johannesburg:Witwatersrand
University Press, Second Edition

Rycroft, D.K. 1975/6 “The Zulu Bow Songs of Princess Magogo”, in African music, 5(4):41-97




How to Cite

Dargie, Dave. 2007. “Umakhweyane: A Musical Bow and Its Contribution to Zulu Music”. African Music : Journal of the International Library of African Music 8 (1):60-81.