School of Arts

UKZN Academic in ICTM Study Group on African Musics

Highlights from the 2nd International Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on African Musics.
Highlights from the 2nd International Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on African Musics.
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African Music and Dance senior lecturer, Dr Patricia Opondo, attended the 2nd International Symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music’s (ICTM) Study Group on African Musics (SGAM) held at the University of Ghana.

ICTM is a scholarly organisation which aims to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music and dance of all countries.

The theme of this year’s symposium was African Music Scholarship in the 21st Century: Challenges and Directions. Subthemes were African and afro-diasporic collaborations and exchanges; representations on the francophone presence in African music scholarship; music education philosophies, pedagogies of African music; interdisciplinarity and African music historiographies in critical perspective and new analytical approaches to contemporary African art music traditions.

During the symposium, Opondo served several roles as Chair of the Executive Committee; a key member of the Programme Committee; provided a history of the ICTM Study Group on African Musics during the Opening Ceremony; and also chaired the Cross[con]-Currents and Movers of Musical Innovation symposium panel.

Opondo has been an active member of ICTM since 1999 and served in leadership positions as Chair of SGAM since 2009. ‘It is wonderful, looking back over the years, and seeing the growth of African Music Scholarship in the world body,’ she said.

In her capacity as Executive Board member, she facilitated UKZN hosting the 40th ICTM World Conference in 2009. In that year, the idea was mooted to create a study group whose focus would be on African Musics. This led to a symposium in 2015 hosted by UKZN.

‘We spread the meetings throughout Africa in order to give local communities an opportunity to engage in the study group. It is wonderful that we were able to take the 2nd Study Group Symposium to Ghana this year. The Symposium attracted leading researchers as well as postgraduate students whose research areas extended over 19 African countries.’

‘As I serve my final term as Chair, I am pleased that ICTM-SGAM provides wonderful networking and a platform for collaborative research on Scholarship in African Music and Dance. I look forward to the next Symposium hosted by the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania in 2020.  Through this engagement, I hope UKZN’s African Music and Dance programme can establish new linkages that extend through West and East Africa,’ said Opondo.

Opondo plans to continue with her research on African Musics while actively participating in both SGAM and the larger biannual ICTM World Conferences including the 45th ICTM World Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2019.

Participating in the past symposia has given Opondo access to research that ‘doesn’t always make it into publications as well as meeting researchers with whom he now works with in collaborative projects as well as attracting strong postgraduate students to UKZN.

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