Collections: Andrea Emberly - The EVIA Digital Archive Project

Children's Songs, Games, and Dance in South Africa (2005-2007)

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Elelwani Michelle Mutangwa, a Venda child from Tshakuma Village, plays the murumba drum and sings ngano (folklore) children's songs. Limpopo Province, South Africa, 2007. Image © Andrea Emberly.

This video collection consists of children's songs (both traditional and non-traditional), game songs, traditional games, handclapping games, and traditional and non-traditional dance all performed by young children (age 3-13) in the Limpopo and North-West provinces, South Africa. The majority of the video collection comes from rural villages in the Limpopo province while some videos were shot in urban or township areas. Included in this collection are performances that are not rehearsed or choreographed but often spontaneous events created by the children in these areas. The songs included here are both those that are taught by adults to children as well as songs transmitted between children. Many of the non-traditional play and handclapping songs can be found in different villages and towns being sung by children from various cultural groups, they may differ slightly in language and text but the framework of the songs are often the same. I have included here a sample from several different cultural groups from various areas in Limpopo and the North-West province. The main culture groups in this research collection are Venda, Pedi, Shangaan and Tswana.

The videos in this collection are a part of my field research in South Africa from 2005-2007 which was funded by SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada). This collection also includes photos, interviews, and field notes. This research material forms the basis for my dissertation in ethnomusicology at the University of Washington with the expected completion date of June 2009.

This collection is currently in production and is not yet available to the public.

Image © Trasi Henen

Andrea Emberly received her PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Washington. Her interests include the study of children's musical cultures as well as children's popular culture. She worked in South Africa from 2005-2007, collecting research on children's music in Limpopo as well as the use of music in educational media, specifically the program Takalani Sesame. This research collection forms the basis for her dissertation which will be completed by June 2009.

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