Class of ’60 Lecture: Louise Meintjes

Professor Louise Meintjes of Duke University will give a lecture titled “What is at Stake in the Choices Zulu Ngoma Performers Make” on Monday, Oct. 24, at 4:15 p.m. in Bernhard Music Center Room 30 on the Williams College campus. This lecture is sponsored by the Class of 1960 Scholars Fund and is both free and open to the public.

Professor Meintjes describes her upcoming talk: “The theme of this presentation is fidelity in Zulu ngoma recording. Why settle for a low-fi sound recording when you could get a better sound more quickly? What is at stake in this choice for Zulu singer-dancers and the cultural brokers they encounter in post apartheid South Africa?”

“Ngoma drummings is Zulu drumming which is associated with very dramatic dancing. The dancers call themselves soldiers.  It’s a kind of dancing that draws on the martial art of stick fighting historically, and has developed into a competitive recreational form. It is readily associated with the image of the warrior-dancer. The sound of the ngoma drum out on the streets is the sound of a marching bass drum with plastic heads.”

Prof. Meintjes is Director of Graduate Studies, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Music and Director of Graduate Studies at Duke University. A graduate of the University of Stellenbosch, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, she is the recipient of numerous awards and honors as an ethnomusicologist and scholar.

The Class of 1960 Scholars Fund, established at their 25th Reunion, brings eminent researchers from other colleges and universities to campus to give colloquia.