Music as instrument of diversity and unity : notes on a Namibian landscape
This report explores the interface between recent socio-political changes in Namibia, and the way they are reflected in emergent musical practices and identities within the country. The potential tension between unity and diversity is investigated within musical landscapes in traditional and contemporary frames. Sadly, diversity is often seen to be the precursor of divisiveness rather than a product of human creativity and ingenuity.
Based on a decade of field research undertaken mainly in the north and central areas of Namibia since 1993, this report poses questions about fundamental purposes of music-making, and the conscious response of people to the contemporary Namibian socio-political situation. It provides a broad overview of music emanating from different cultural practices in Namibia, and relates this to the State's political strategies for ensuring unity and nation-building through policy-making, education and broadcast media. The changes that occur in musical practices are seen as strategic cultural choices and ongoing identity-formation.