K.E.Masinga, Zulu Radio and the Politics of Migrant Aurality

Monday, 30 July, 2012 - 15:00

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This chapter explores ways of understanding the kinds of transformations and ‘migrations’ that occur when a language moves to a new medium, in this case radio.  I set out what particular tensions and plays of power operate when this occurs in an era where colonial, imperial and, later, state power structures set languages in hierarchies of value. Through a close study of particular key moments in the history of the medium in South Africa,  I discuss how radio in Zulu was able to adapt social knowledge and forms of performative power, creating, perhaps a new ‘vernacular’ in a situation of unequal relations where silence and dancing to ‘his master’s voice’ might have seemed an easy option. And through the case of a particular key radio ‘migrant’, King Edward Masinga I ask if  ‘dancing to his master’s voice’ across languages and translations of culture can sometimes also be seen as a dance of power?

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