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The psychological healing and unifying aspects of struggle songs: perspectives of ex-members of uMkhonto we Sizwe based in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal.

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This qualitative study sought to investigate the perspectives of former members of uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) on aspects of struggle songs that were psychologically healing and unifying. The study used the Afrocentric theoretical framework, the constructivist research paradigm, and it is premised on Africa(n)-psychology. Further, the study employed a purposive sampling method to recruit participants who reside in the city of Pietermaritzburg in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The data was collected through semi-structured interviews. The thematic data analysis method was utilizing in analysing the study results. Consequently, the study results demonstrated that struggle songs have various origins, such as the anti-colonial struggles and frontier wars, churches, cultural activities and ceremonies, and popular anti-apartheid protests. It was illustrated that struggle songs played emotional, psychological, and political roles in the lives of former MK combatants. Importantly, struggle songs were proven to have unifying and healing potential. This was found in their lyrical and rhythmic properties, which inspired imagination, reminiscence, solidarity, and collective identity. Lastly, struggle songs have been reported to have varying impacts on the former MK combatants today. Some reported that struggle songs have a positive impact, while others reported that they have a negative effect due to the songs being used for sinister purposes in the post-apartheid South African politics.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.