16 October 2003
The Limpopo government has launched a R1.3-million project to build a central library in the province to store, preserve and provide information and services on indigenous music.
The library project, which will be based at the University of Venda, was initiated by the departments of sport and recreation and of arts, culture, science and technology as part of efforts to preserve music facing extinction.
George Mugovhani, head of the university’s music department, said the library will showcase South Africa’s different types of indigenous music, their instruments and their history. “The project will help in researching, documenting and preserving music in all the indigenous languages that are spoken in the province,” he said.
Mugovhani said the project would also help build awareness of the diverse cultures in the province and the country.
This is the third such project in South Africa, after funding was received for similar projects at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape and University of Zululand in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mugovhani said few people realise that some genres of South African music are on the verge of extinction because no one is interested in learning how to play or sing them any more.
He said the library would also provide extensive information on the instruments used in the making of indigenous music.
“Once the people who know our music die, and we have not recorded it, part of our history will also die,” he said, adding that part of the R1.3-million will be used to fund oral history research projects on all the languages spoken in Limpopo, such as Xitsonga, Tshivenda, isiNdebele and Sesotho sa Leboa.