Ingoma yomzabalzo---music of the struggles: Ethnography of a South African Zulu choral music and the HIV/AIDS struggle.
South Africans have faced a new challenge in the HIV/AIDS pandemic since the dismantling of apartheid. In 1996 former president Nelson Mandela declared the HIV/AIDS 'the new struggle,' thus triggering a new connection of the current fight with that of the anti-apartheid struggle. Like under anti-apartheid, music comprises an expressive form of articulating and rendering in performance the local experience of the disease in South Africa. Using archival and ethnographic methods, this study investigated the dynamics of the organization and performance of choral music by the Siphithemba Choir at the McCord Mission Hospital in Durban. The study situates the choir within the context of the churches' role in the human struggles in South Africa, as well as connects it with South Africans' historical use of music to address their conflict and struggles situations such as under apartheid. This dissertation explores the choir's choral performance as community experience, and expressive form of engagement with the HIV/AIDS. Drawing upon the indigenous ubuntu philosophy and Black (Liberation) Theology as analytical frameworks, the study brings out the significant role of faith, and communal performance of music in clinical experience and public health situation, and in addressing the everyday exigencies of being HIV positive. It also highlights how their organizing and performance of music brings empowerment, and strong social support system for its members, whose experience has been impacted by the social and economic estrangements that fuel the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.