Singing in the Bush

Singing in the Bush

ISBN 978-3-89645-355-6

Singing in the Bush

MPLA Songs during the War for Independence in South-East Angola (1966–1975)

Edited by: Inge Brinkman. Series edited by: Michael Bollig, Wilhelm J.G. Möhlig †.

Series: HSA History, Cultural Traditions and Innovations in Southern Africa Volume 16

110 pp.
5 b/w photos, 1 table
Text language(s): English
Format: 160 x 240 mm
220 g
€ 34.80

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This edition is based on political songs that were composed and performed during the war for independence in south-east Angola  (1966-1975). The songs published in the book stem from fieldwork among Angolans residing in Namibia. Thirty song texts are rendered in their original language (Ngangela or Portuguese), with an English translation and extensive notes on the context in which they were sung.

The importance of these songs can hardly be overestimated. During the war political song was used by the MPLA Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola both in terms of nationalist mobilisation and as a means for civilians to bolster their position vis-à-vis the guerrillas. The importance of the subject prompts the editor to advocate a place for this literary genre in African historiography.

The introduction of the book focuses on the historical dimensions of the MPLA political songs and their relationship with local song/dance traditions in south-east Angola. The book discusses new alleys of research and poses theoretical questions about memory, popular literature and legitimacy.

About the author:

Since October 2015, Inge Brinkman is working as professor for African Studies at the Department of African Languages and Cultures at Ghent University. Her fields of research include African literature and African popular culture from a cultural-historical perspective. She is engaged in research on gender, oral narrative and monster studies, and on autobiographical writing in Africa. Geographically the focus is on Central Kenya and Namibia/Angola.

Some more notes would include:

After having finished her studies in History and in African Studies, she received a Ph.D. degree from Leiden University (The Netherlands, 1996) with a thesis on oral and written literature, identity and gender in Central Kenya. She then worked at Cologne University (Germany) on a post-doctoral research project, studying violence and exile on the basis of fieldwork with South-East Angolans. From 2001 to 2004 she was engaged in research at Ghent University on the relations between nationalism, religion and popular culture in Northern Angola.

In 2005-2006 she carried out a project on the socio-cultural history of forty years of SNV Netherlands Development Organisation at the African Studies Centre in Leiden. Between 2007 and 2013 she was engaged in a programme on communication technologies, mobility and social relations in historical perspective, with as research focus south-east Angola.

Some of the results have been edited together with Axel Fleisch under the title Grandmother’s Footsteps, see the following links, where you will find further studies about the Angolan war of independence and its history:

Accompanying material:

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