A highlight for African musical heritage, during WALE 5.0 will be the Inaugural Khabi Mngoma Memorial Lecture. Khabi Mngoma had a vast influence on African music, through his extensive career as a leading academic and cultural activist in the service of music. Prof. Mngoma is also the father of singer Sibongile Khumalo, and musician Lindumuzi Mngoma.
In its fifth year WALE 5.0 promises to be an exciting and cutting edge mix of all things artistic. Running for 4 days from 9 to 12 May, the festival which has now established itself on the Johannesburg Arts Calendar promises to have something for everyone.
“We salute you, son of Africa, who has taught us the alphabet of western music, and the meaning, the poetry of African music; for having fought through the many years for our music to be recognized as an imperative dimension of education in particular, and our spiritual well-being in general” (Council for Black Education and Research, 1987). Citation given to Khabi Mngoma by the Council for Black Education and Research, on the occasion of the conferment of an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Wits University in 1987**
The lecture will be presented by Dr Reuel Khoza to honour the man, his life and his work. There will be several aspects to the evening: Dr Sipho Nzimande, a former student of Prof Mngoma and Sibongile Khumalo, will be in conversation and respond to the lecture.
The proceedings will include a short performance by The Gauteng Choristers, illustrating the different facets of Prof Mngoma’s work.
There will also be a Photo Exhibition on the life and times of Khabi Mngoma, curated by Bongi Dhlomo, in the foyer of the WITS Downstairs Theatre. The exhibition will show previously unseen pictures and offer a rare personal glimpse into the life of Khabi Mngoma.
Khabi Vivian Mngoma the Man
Khabi Mngoma has been described as “….the embodiment of a generation that espoused the importance of service and humility”**
Khabi Mngoma was born in Troyeville, north east of Johannesburg on the 18th November, 1922. He grew up in a musically fertile environment and came from musically gifted parents. His mother, Agnes Matutu Nyembe, was a school teacher and his father, David Zwelonke Mngoma, a virtuoso concertina-playing maskandi musician. **
By the time Khabi Mngoma got to his last work post as Head of Music at the University of Zululand, he had worked in the cultural sphere as artist, teacher, publisher, organizer (of cultural activities), choir conductor and singing coach, historian, and administrator. **
Khabi Mngoma personifies a generation that included some exceptional people … Es’kia Mphahlele, Henry Nxumalo, MacKay Davashe, JP Mohapeloa, Mzilikazi James Khumalo, Michael Moerane, Mazisi Kunene among many others – A very distinct group that had a strong sense of identity; even as they grappled with the challenges of a situation that sought to denigrate and dehumanize them. **
Khabi Mnogma founded and ran numerous music programmes, through his teachings and through music performances and concerts; he always strived to expand his pupils’ vocabulary and the audiences’ experience.
He always incorporated what he believed was an acknowledgement of the dual worlds in which the ’present-day African’ lived and firmly believed that the teaching of music needed to reflect this reality for all students of music. **
His approach was to promote and understand the importance for a need for balance between the intellectual and the spiritual – it was not enough to understand music solely for academic study. It was his experience that those learners who were high achievers in the music programme he ran, also excelled in Mathematics and English, Biology and Geography and other academic school subjects. He also found that many of these learners developed a keen sense of responsibility and citizenship, compassion and empathy, respect for self and others, and generally were an asset to their communities in a myriad ways.**
Among Khabi Mngoma’s many achievements:
· He founded the Music Department of the University of Zululand in 1975
· He started the Ford Choirs in Contest in 1977, which is now known as the Old Mutual National Choir Festival. -South Africa’s oldest and most prestigious choral music competition.
· Established the Ionian Music Society (1960) , The Ionian Youth Orchestra (1969), as well as the Khongisa Youth Centre for the Performing Arts (1976).
· Professor Mngoma was also a valued member of the Roodepoort Eisteddfod panel, as well as an active member of the SAMRO Music Committee.
· He had a long association with the University of South Africa and he made very considerable contributions to the teaching of music in schools as well as the training of choral directors.
“…I stem from an African and a Western culture – like all present day Africans (who have had or have considerable contact with Western culture) whether they are conscious of it or not. The authenticity of present day Africa does not just derive from the Africa of the past, of primeval forests and primitive instruments-although obviously this should not be ignored. The African of today can play both traditional and contemporary music”*
These are the wise words of Khabi Vivian Mngoma – Professor, Doctor, Teacher, Philosopher, Mentor, Visionary, Father, Son, African, Humanist, Self-Made Man.
Please join us for this tribute to an African Musical Giant – Khabi Vivian Mngoma
Khabi Mngoma Memorial Lecture Details:
Date: 11th May 2012
Venue: The Wits Main Theatre
Presented by Dr Reuel Khoza
For more information contact Ayob/Mo/Vuyo on firstname.lastname@example.org (011) 788 7631/2
*From the “Life and Work of Khabi Mngoma”- I. M. Burger 1990, a Doctoral thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for Doctor of Philosophy, University of Cape Town
**From: Tribute to KV Mngoma by; Sibongile Khumalo, on being conferred with a Honorary Doctorate of Music by Rhodes University, to her late father – Dr KV Mngoma