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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499


KGATLA, Thias. Songs of the harp from an African xylophone: Cries of deliverance. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2014, vol.40, n.2, pp.171-188. ISSN 2412-4265.

In this article I examine aspects of the Hebrew Psalms and relate them to African musical genres focusing on lamentation, protest, and resistance against evil and injustice suffered by the poor and weak at the hands of the powerful. The model of the Hebrew psalms and the instruments of the psalmists provide the basis for drawing parallels between Ancient Hebrew and African cultures. Suffering inflicted by the powerful on the lowly in society is universal, so resistance and the struggle for emancipation often take similar forms. 1 argue that although African Traditional Religion does not have a single founder and does not proselytise, its quest for justice where atrocities are committed is similar to that of established religions with a missionary nature. Lamentation and protest against evil committed by those in authority are part of a universal consciousness. In the article I investigate African music and constructs that energise people in their collective endeavour to attain authentic freedom. I also compare the roles of the Hebrew shofar and African horn in the struggle for justice. Musical constructs that satirise gender inequalities and attendant prejudices are also discussed.

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