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Writing against exile : a chronotopic reading of the autobiographies of Miriam Makeba, Joe Mogotsi, and Hugh Masekela.

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This dissertation analyses the autobiographies of Miriam Makeba, Joe Mogotsi and Hugh Masekela. The story of these formerly exiled musicians' lives as musicians who embodied the urbanising and eclectic black musical ethos of the 1950s onward has been integral to the music historiography on this era. The exilic trajectory of their story also has political resonance, as it parallels the shifts in structures of power characteristic of apartheid South Africa. Popular discourses that construct and narrate an incrementally conscientizing South African populist culture through this period have therefore also represented the musicians, through written and visual material, with this political resonance in mind. The musicians' autobiographies, however, articulate discourses of the nation from positions other these. These other positions are interanimated by literary, musical and socio-political discourses that already pervade the South African historical sphere. This informs the dialogic interplay of time, space and character in their texts, which I examine using the literary figure of the chronotope as a perceptual tool for their reading. Through analysis, I unpack how time becomes symbolically charged and space becomes mythologized in the autobiographies, how departure and eventual exile are narrated, and how the subsequent chronotopic rupture created by exile affects narration of home. Reading the struggle for authorship and authority evident in the texts' vacillation between biographical and autobiographical 'truth', the possible significances towards which this struggle points for a (re ) interpretation of South Africa's (hi)story of exile permeates the subject and process of this research.


Thesis (M.Mus.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2006.


Makeba, Miriam., Mogotsi, Joe, 1924-, Masekela, Hugh, 1939-, Theses--Music.