Hymn singing in Sesotho/Setswana/Sepedi speaking churches: a process of claiming and reclaiming
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Hymn singing is an early example of cross-cultural pollination – what had been taken away from the natives by the missionaries, was reclaimed in the adaptation of old European hymns and the composition of new traditional hymn tunes to old texts. The performance practised was also reclaimed. The historical background of the Sesotho hymnal, Lifela tsa Sione, also sung by the Batswana in some churches, is discussed. The singing style encountered in four different churches in North-West Province illustrates the evolving style of hymn singing found in mainstream traditional churches in South Africa today. This style shows a new identity, which is again influencing European hymn singing. Compared with the popular Music from Taizé, the so-called traditional African ‘choruses’ have similarities and have been incorporated in ecumenical worship.
- Faculty of Humanities