Repository logo

Muziki wa Injili : the temporal and spatial aesthetics of popular church music in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (1980s-2005)

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This study is concerned with popular church music in Dar es Salaam and with changes in this music in relation to the concepts of temporality and spatiality. In part one, I argue that temporal change is experienced by human beings in relation to events or "stamps". Using selected stamps in the history of Tanzania from the 1980s to 2005, I discuss, on the one hand, how temporal events shaped various aspects of the music and people's experiences of the music and, on the other hand, how the music influenced people's experiences of various events and temporal rhythms. Various processes in the making ofpopular church music and various people involved in the creation of this music are considered to serve as stamps that mark the metamorphosis of the music. Likewise, the structural organization of the music and various musical elements imprint musical works and give them their identities thus causing them to be associated with other works that are organized in more or less similar ways. In part two, I use the theory of spatial trialectics to examine how popular church music is related to religious, national and gendered spaces. First, I discuss how the use of this music in religious spaces and the changes that have taken place in aspects of the music have been controversial, and I argue that the changes in the music led to changes in people's inner experiences of Christian spirituality. Second, I point out that the practice of African nationalism in this music has been aiming at liberating the national mental space through the use of traditional music materials and by addressing various national issues. The dynamics in this space involve the interaction between local and global music aesthetics. Third, I discuss the prominence ofwomen musicians in popular church music in recent years and the way in which this prominence has increased the focus on women's issues in the music. A close reading of selected songs reveals that individuals' experiences of gender problems are shaped by gendered mental space, which is informed by religious and other cultural norms.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2006.


Church music--Tanzania--Dar Es Salaam., Gospel music--Tanzania--Dar Es Salaam., Popular music--Tanzania--History and criticism., Theses--Music.