dinaka, kiba, Pedi music, drumming, pipe ensembles, dance, transcriptions, South African music


This article provides a description and musical analysis of the Pedi genre known as dinaka, as it is currently practised (2016) in the rural areas throughout the Limpopo province. The role of this music is examined along with the implications of learning and performing it as a cultural outsider. The construction, methods of tuning, and playing techniques of the pipes, drums, and other instruments associated with dinaka are discussed. The form and structure of the music are interpreted as well as the idioms of rhythm, melody, and dance repertoire which imbue the genre with a distinct sound. Common methods for creating improvisational variations among the instrumental and dance parts are explained. The connection of dinaka to styles of Pedi vocal music is examined along with the proverbial meanings of the songs with which these melodies and rhythms are associated. Transcriptions of the dance steps, pipe melodies and drum rhythms have been developed to provide a visual representation of the music. The aim is to provide a resource from which one can study and understand the many aspects of dinaka.


Ballantine, Christopher. 1965. “The Polyrhythmic Foundation of Tswana Pipe Melody.” African Music 3 (4): 52–67.

Huskisson, Yvonne. 1958. “The Social and Ceremonial Music of the Pedi.” PhD Dissertation: University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

James, C.L. 1992. “Melodic and Rhythmic Aspects of Indigenous African Music.” Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies 3 (1): 15–28.

James, Deborah. 1997. “Music of Origin: Class, Social Category and the Performers and Audience of kiba, a South African Migrant Genre.” Africa 67 (3): 454–475.

James, Deborah. 1999. “ ’Bagagešu’ (Those of My Home): Women, Migrants, Ethnicity, and Performance in South Africa.” American Ethnologist 26 (1): 69–89.

James, Deborah. 2000. “Sister, Spouse, Lazy Woman: Commentaries on Domestic Predicaments by Kiba Performers from the Northern Province.” In Oral Literature and Performance in South Africa, Duncan Brown, ed. 176–194. Oxford, UK: James Currey.

Kirby, Percival R. 1933. “The Reed-Flute Ensembles of South Africa: A Study in South African Native Music.” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 63: 313–388.

Mapaya, Madimabe Geoff. 2014. “Indigenous African Music: A Descriptive Analysis of Mmino wa Setšo from a Northern Sotho Perspective.” Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences 5 (20): 2211–2215.

Mapaya, Madimabe Geoff. 2014. “Dinaka/kiba: A Descriptive Analysis of a Northern Sotho Song-dance performative compound.” African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance 20 (2:1): 426–438.

ShowMe: South Africa. 2008/2009. “Map of South African Provinces” [map] Retrieved from https://showme.co.za/facts-about-south-africa/the-maps-of-south-africa/

Thema, Kgaladi. 2006. “Sekgapa: A Culture-based Study of a Musical Tradition of BaPedi Women of Mailula, Mmamabolo District, Limpopo Province-South Africa.” PhD Dissertation: University of Cape Town, Cape Town.

Tracey, Andrew. 1971. “The Nyanga Panpipe Dance.” African Music 5 (1): 73–89. Available at https://doi.org/10.21504/amj.v5i1.1152.

Tracey, Andrew. 1992. “The Nyanga/Ngororombe Panpipe Dance: 2. Some Dance Steps for the Nyanga Panpipe Dance.” African Music 7 (2): 108–118. Available at https://doi.org/10.21504/amj.v7i2.1947.

Tracey, Andrew and Gumboreshumba, Laina. 2013. “Transcribing the Venda Tshikona Reedpipe Dance.” African Music 9 (3): 25–39. Available at https://doi.org/10.21504/amj.v9i3.1909.

Interviews by author
Ledwala, Stanley. Magongwa, Limpopo. 07/12/2016.

Ledwaba, Dennis. Mashashane, Limpopo. 03/06/2017.

Mothapo, William. Ramashala, Simon. Matlatle, Lucas. Sebora, Limpopo. 11/12/2016.

Munyai, Lesiba. Magongwa, Limpopo. 25/03/2017.




How to Cite

Chambers, Paul W. 2018. “A STUDY OF THE DINAKA PIPE DANCE OF THE PEDI PEOPLE IN SOUTH AFRICA”. African Music : Journal of the International Library of African Music 10 (4):7-39. https://doi.org/10.21504/amj.v10i4.2231.