Daten zum Projekt

Senior Fellowship for Dr. Lizabé Lambrechts: "Music and Memory: Discovering the Postapartheid through Popular Music Archives"

Initiative: Wissen für morgen – Kooperative Forschungsvorhaben im subsaharischen Afrika (beendet)
Ausschreibung: Postdoctoral Fellowships Social Sciences
Bewilligung: 03.05.2018
Laufzeit: 3 Jahre


This project will explore the Free Peoples Concerts, an annual multi-racial festival that took place in South Africa from 1970-1991. The Free Peoples Concerts (the title was meant to denote concerts by and for free peoples) were conceptualised within the counter-culture and hippie movements of the 1970s. These events constituted multi-racial platforms where a variety of alternative South African musics could be heard, irrespective of race, during a time when such interaction was highly restricted by the apartheid government. The festivals were organised in conjunction with the South African Folk Music Association, the Student Representative Council of the University of the Witwatersrand and Aquarius, the cultural wing of the National Union of South African Students. Although the concerts were on occasion prevented from happening by the apartheid government, audiences continued to grow and musicians eventually included artists from Malawi, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. Through oral history interviews and archival research in the Hidden Years Music Archive Project as well as the collection of personal archives of the musicians and students involved in organising, attending and performing at these events, this project will construct a history of music and musicians within the counter-culture and alternative music communities of South Africa. It will also investigate student politics in the 1970s and '80s in South Africa, developing a comparative framework for thinking about contemporary student movements and the role of music. Most of the musicians were not recorded by mainstream record companies, nor did they receive radio air time due to the political content of their music. Re-inscribing them into South African music history is therefore an important imperative of this project. This transdisciplinary project aims to enable and encourage other projects within the social sciences and humanities to explore historical peripheral movements of artistic activism in Southern Africa.


  • Dr. Stefan Schmid

    Universität Frankfurt am Main
    Zentrum für interdisziplinäre
    Afrikaforschung (ZIAF)
    Campus Westend
    Frankfurt am Main

  • Dr. Lizabé Lambrechts, D. Phil

    Stellenbosch University
    Department of Music
    Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS)
    Department of Music

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