The re-emergence of Amahubo song styles and ideas in some modern Zulu musical styles.
Xulu, Musa Khulekani.
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Amahubo songs are at the centre of the traditional Zulu cultural, religious and political lives. Their age is often associated with the very "beginning" of things, when the very first Zulu people emerged from the bed of reeds. As musical items amahubo tend to be easily associated with the old, pre-colonial era when Zulus were in charge of their lives and their destinies. The performance contexts of amahubo songs are the wedding, the funeral of a King, Chief, induna, umnurnzane, war and other commemorative ceremonies. Amahubo are also called ceremonial music because of their association with the ceremonial. Ritual and symbolism dominate amahubo performance contexts, amahubo themselves being symbols that stand for other ideas. It is noteworthy that despite missionary and colonial propaganda against traditional Zulu music and culture, amahubo continue to survive and are still performed at clan, regional and Zulu 'national' levels. In addition, there has emerged new syncretic styles which demonstrate the fusion of Zulu and Western (hymnal) musical ideas. From time to time the new musical styles emphasize a Zulu identity which makes them to be mostly symbolically associated with or related to amahubo songs. Today, amahubo and seven modern Zulu musical style can easily express a broad statement of the Zulu ethnic entity of ,some seven to eight million individuals. All these musical styles, when claimed by Zulus draw "imaginary borders" between Zulus and non-Zulus and get referred to as Zulu (ethnic or 'national') music. such references, however, are situational. The period 1988 - 1992 in which research was conducted culminating in this thesis has been marked by Zulu ethnic resurgence characterized by the performance of amahubo songs and other modern styles of religious, choral, wedding, mbhaganga, maskanda and isicathamiya, all of which, through manipulation of text and musical sounds, get situationally claimed for the Zulu ethnic (national) identity.