Maskandi: A Critical General Inductive Analysis of Zulu Maskandi Songs

  • Sipho Albert Ntombela University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


Although different researchers have conducted studies on maskandi songs, very little is known about the artistic techniques Zulu maskandi groups use to introduce their songs. Hence, this study reports on various artistic techniques Zulu maskandis use in the introductory section of their songs, from a critical general inductive perspective. The data was collected from CDs, cassettes, Ukhozi FM radio programmes and television programmes. The author chose to analyse the introductory sections of maskandi songs in order to demonstrate that maskandis are flexible, creative and talented. The study found that although playing the izihlabo (“instrumental introductionâ€) is obligatory in this music genre, Zulu maskandis keep on exploring other introductory techniques, such as using concertina, bass guitar, voices, a lead guitar and other instruments, as well as ukubiza ingoma (“the interplay between the leader of a group and members of the group in the beginning of a songâ€). Among these artistic techniques, playing the izihlabo is used predominantly, as it is still regarded as the basis for all other techniques used in this music genre. Unlike what previous research found about the artistic techniques used by Zulu maskandis, this study has shown that while pushing boundaries of indigenous Zulu songs, maskandis embrace both indigenous and modern ways of singing. In the end, implications for pushing boundaries of this music genre are considered.

Author Biography

Sipho Albert Ntombela, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Lecturer in the Division of Languages, Literacies and Literatures