Indigenous features inherent in African popular music of South Africa
The central aim of this study is to identify those features in the music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens that derive from Indigenous African music and show how they have been transformed to become part of popular idioms. All black South African popular music idioms are heavily reliant upon indigenous sources, not only from the compositional, but from the performing and interactive community points of view. In the case of the music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens, the influence of Zulu culture is particularly strong, although features of others traditions represented in Black urban society are also perceptible. The reasons for the Zulu orientation of the groups lie in the predominantly Zulu make up, as well as the large number of Zulus that make up black South African urban population. Of course, such Indigenous features as can be observed in their music have not necessarily been transferred directly from their original sources: the process of acculturation of the dominant characteristics of tribal rural musical practices with appropriate Western popular idioms began early on in this century, resulting in such representative urban forms as Marabi, Khwela and Mbube. More sophisticated forms and modes of expression have incorporated, and been based on these early manifestations, resulting in hybridised musical genres that reflect the broad and diverse base of African popular music in South Africa today. Ladymith Black Mambazo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens count among the pioneers of the Mbube, Mbaqanga and the urban popular styles. It is through the medium of Mbube and Mbaqanga that Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens have established their popular base initially in the townships, then through the record industry, and, latterly, in the spread of shebeen culture into affluent white- dominated venues such as the Get-Ahead shebeen in Rosebank. Johannesburg. Through the music of the group it is possible to examine the development of a particular style traditional/popular acculturation as well as the social and political themes that have found their way into the black popular music of the 1980s and 1990s. This research will thus serve as an analytical guide to the music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Mahlathini and the Mahotell Queens, particularly regarding the issue of acculturation, it will also serve as a case study in the composer-performer-listener chain which underpins any sociologically-orientated investigation into popular culture and it will be argued that the artefacts of popular culture can only be investigated in this way.