Transmitting historical practices to present reality : a biography and anthology of Brother Clement Sithole's music and work with Inyoni Kayiphumuli Children's Home.
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This thesis is a detailed biographical review of Brother Clement Sithole's life (1). This thesis traces Brother Clement's musical development, his acquisition of indigenous musical knowledge, and his application of this knowledge to his present experience. The purpose behind my enquiry is to further understand the relationship between historical musical practices and the present world experienced by the individual. What is the impact of past indigenous musical performance on the performer? Is indigenous musical performance an effective way for displaced people to alleviate alienation and disjuncture? What problems, complications, and contradictions are encountered by an individual when they attempt to use past musical practices to express their contemporary experience? The thesis is divided into six chapters. Chapter One is a general introduction to the Master's project. Chapter Two highlights Brother Clement's early years, and presents discussions related to the musical practices and cultural ideas acquired during this period. Certain childhood events are analyzed for the impact of these events on Brother Clement's later development. Chapter Three concerns Brother Clement's religious vocation and his liturgical compositions. Brother Clement has composed a number of religious songs for the umakhweyana bow and choral songs for Catholic Mass. In his compositions, he combines the text of the Catholic liturgy with indigenous Zulu musical styles. I discuss how indigenous Zulu music has assisted Brother Clement to create a sense of individuality, place, and belonging within the context of the Catholic community. In addition, I analyze how these compositions have brought a sense of continuity to his life through easing the tension between his commitments to the Catholic Church on the one hand, and to Zulu culture on the other. I also discuss some of the problems, and complications, which Brother Clement encountered when he attempted to introduce these indigenous musical styles to the context of the Catholic Church. In Chapter Four Brother Clement's work as a caregiver within his community is introduced. In the late 1980's, he opened a children's home to cater for needy children from the Vryheid area. Brother Clement is fully responsible for these children. In the home, the children practice and perform indigenous music on a regular basis. Brother Clement has named all of his musical work, including the children's home "Inyoni Kayiphumuli" which translates from isiZulu as "the bird that does not rest." The name is descriptive of his work within the abbey as a monk, and his continuous effort to transmit indigenous Zulu music and heritage to the youth. I focus on the impact of Brother Clement's work, and of the indigenous musical practice on the children from the Inyoni Kayiphumuli Children's Home. I analyze the relationship between the performance of past indigenous Zulu music and the introduction of certain moral values to the youth, and examine the relevance of these values in the context of contemporary South African society, in particular the national HIV/AIDS epidemic. Chapter Five provides a self-reflexive account of the creation of the accompanying video anthology. I discuss the relevance of video documentation in ethnomusicological study and analyze the relationship between the video and the written text presented in the thesis. Chapter Six serves as a conclusion to the thesis and presents an analytical summary of the project outcomes. I highlight the significance of this project and make some suggestions for future scholars undertaking similar research. (1) In this thesis, I use the name Mpimbili when referring to Brother Clement Sithole's formative years, since this is the name given to him at birth. In 1956, Mpimbili was baptized and his name changed to Albert, therefore when referring to these years I use the name Albert. In 1965, Albert takes his first vows as Benedictine brother, and his name changes to Brother Clement. Following this final name change I use his current name, which is Brother Clement.