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date: 23 October 2019


  • Gerhard Kubik


Continent with several climate zones and a population of over 800 million (2000 estimate). The extremely diversified languages within Africa are as much the result of long-term separation of local communities during the continent's remote history as it is of borrowing and processes of transculturation triggered by trade contact, migration and economic symbiosis. These formative factors have shaped the continent's expressive forms in music, dance, art, games, theatre, and oral and written literature. These forms of expressive culture should be viewed, therefore, within the context of African historicity as configurations that have been continuously changing for thousands of years. Thus, testimony is given to the immense African resources for innovation, invention, re-invention, resilience and adaptation. This dynamic picture of African cultural history clearly makes earlier notions of ‘traditional’ societies and cultures obsolete (Kubik, Theory of African Music, 1994, pp.30–37).

Music and dance in Africa exist within an interdependent relationship with other forms of expressive culture. Ruth Stone has stressed that African song, language, oral literature, instrumental music, theatre arts and dance are all a ‘conceptual package’ that most Africans conceive of as unitary (Stone, ...

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