Original Articles

The role of the umrhubhe bow as transmitter of cultural knowledge among the amaXhosa: An interview with Latozi 'Madosini' Mpahleni

Published in: Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa
Volume 1, issue 1, 2004 , pages: 138–160
DOI: 10.2989/18121000409486694
Author(s): Sazi Dlamini


This article is based on an interview with Ms Latozi Mpahleni, otherwise well-known on both South African and international world music stages as 'Madosini', one of the country's leading performers on the Xhosa umrhubhe and uhadi bows as well as the isitolotolo jew's harp. The interview revealed some interesting insights into the role of the umrhubhe bow in the socialisation of amantombazana, the young females among the Xhosa in the Eastern Cape. This article is partly concerned with illustrating, through using excerpts from Madosini's orally transmitted accounts, the integration of the umrhubhe bow into the day-to-day social performance practice of Xhosa teenagers in the early part of the twentieth century. The focus is also on Madosini's responses to several questions regarding her method of playing umrhubhe, with a view to understanding the indigenous use of technical language in its description of the process of producing musical sound on an unbraced, mouth-resonated bow.

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