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The voice of protest : urban black women : song and resistance in the 1980s.

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In order to understand black women's socio-political role in the construction of, and participation in resistance culture, it is essential to look at the historic developments as a whole. To define women's social and political role in resistance as inherently separate would infact marginalize women from the broader overview, and therefore discredit their contribution to resistance politics. Women should be seen as part of public society. If to be separate is, inherently, to be unequal, then it is only by integrating the study of women into the study of society that "women's studies", by ceasing to exist, will, paradoxically, have had the impact on academic fields that it deserves. l Information collected for this thesis, was based on information given by and taped at . African National Congress (ANC), United Democratic Front (UDF) and Pan African Congress (PAC) resistance rallies, meetings and conferences. The women and men I interviewed were affiliated to one of the above mentioned political organizations. I do not wish to speak on behalf of these or any black women, nor do I claim to understand what they had to endure during the eighties. My aim, however, is to document the toyi-toyi as it pertained to black women, and the history surrounding its creation, and the symbolic meaning inherent in its performance, as accurately as possible. I believe the toyi-toyi spoke and still speaks about important political and social issues. Ignoring this voice, and letting it go unnoticed would be an intellectual crime and socially irresponsible. History speaks through the actions of people. A very powerful performance and vehicle of communication will be lost if the toyi-toyi is left undocumented. We as researchers must not only document the words of leaders, we must let the voices of the people be heard. I know many white South Africans are afraid of the toyi-toyi performance. They associate it with unruliness, violence and crime. The SABC news media has done a good job of documenting it as such. News flashes of the toyi-toyi was and is still shown in relation to burning tyres, stone throwing and the "violent, chanting black crowd." The aim of my research and the reason behind writing this thesis, is to let the voices of black people, but especially black women be heard - let the toyi-toyi speak to those who hide from its performance. Endnotes. M.Z. Rosaldo Women, Culture and Society, (Stanford 1874), 128.


Thesis (M.Mus.)-University of Natal, Durban, 1994.


Toyi-Toyi., Theses--Music., Women, black--South Africa--Political activity., Protest songs--South Africa.