Magazine article Bulletin of the International Council for Traditional Music

Executive Report: Professor Fikile NM Mazibuko, Chairperson of the ICTM Local Arrangements Committee, the 40th International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM)

Magazine article Bulletin of the International Council for Traditional Music

Executive Report: Professor Fikile NM Mazibuko, Chairperson of the ICTM Local Arrangements Committee, the 40th International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM)

Article excerpt

University of KwaZulu Natal, Howard College Campus, Durban, South Africa, 01 July-08 July 2009


The 40th World Conference of the International Council for Traditional Music, held for the first time in 61 years of the ICTM's history, in Africa, and in particular hosted in the City of Durban, one of South Africa's major cultural hubs, from 1-8 July 2009, has raised the bar in the global scholarship and fellowship of music, dance, urban music and other performances.

As Chairperson of the Local Arrangements Committee for the 40th Session of the World Conference, and also in my capacity as Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of College: Humanities, I have pleasure in reporting that the 2009 World Conference has also set a new benchmark for a synergy linking the ICTM to Africa. The weeklong World Conference, in essence, gave new impetus for the continental quest to share our unique brand of ethnomusicology and ethno choreology with the world communities via the ICTM's programmes and projects.

Looking back at the stimulating programme and exhibition spread over eight days of hectic activities, and reflecting on how the bid to bring ICTM to Africa was conceptualized and finally delivered, I am confident that the international leadership and the 200-plus delegates have since taken home the memories of the 'Durban Experience' and have shared our cultural diversity with people around the world.

The Conference was a defining moment and particularly important for Africa, and especially within the cultural mix of the province of KwaZulu Natal, in the sense that it has successfully linked the critical components of higher education to development, community engagement and scholarship.

The diversity and demographics represented at the conference and exhibition halls presented an inspiring and enabling environment for scholars, researchers, performers, composers, academics, students and performers to come together and share their own, local, national and global experiences with one another.

The overall programme served to focus on the intellectual and scholarly aspects of music. This was translated through excellent academic and research paper presentations.

Conference was mandated with the task of creating the best possible conducive conditions for the exchange of ideas and to enable fruitful interactions among scholars from all over the world.

Broadly speaking, the Conference epitomized a celebration of the fusing of global cultures through music, dance, urban, folk and traditional music and other performances. The exhibition, for its integral part, showcased ingenuity, the creative zeal and zest of humanity and a fascinating range of musical instruments.

I am particularly proud that the UKZN students, mentored by our leading scholars and researchers, under the leadership of Professor Emily A'kuno, the Head of School of Music and Dr Patricia Achieng Opondo, Director of the African Music Project. South African musicians on the whole, were given a life-long opportunity to render their compositions and share with the rest of the world's communities their prowess of singing homegrown Maskanda and Isicathamiya, which is indigenous to KwaZulu Natal, and as well as jazz, choral works and the dazzling dance sequences of Afro-Indian fusions of traditional African dances and India's ancient art of Bharata-Natyam and Kathak dancing.

But the delivery of the 40th World Conference to member nations would not have been possible without the sterling contribution of several role-players and stakeholders.

Firstly, the UKZN College of Humanities and School of Music, and its bid committee, individually and collectively, believed in itself that the 40th World Conference would reach our shores on the African south-eastern seaboard.

Swift gratitude is as sweet as music, and I place on record my heartfelt thanks to the ICTM, and in particular the President, Dr Adrienne L Kaeppler, the ICTM Board, and Dr Wim van Zanten, Acting Programme Chair of the 40th World Conference, and our sister affiliates in Africa, for having the confidence in our ability, capacity and drive to host, co-ordinate and execute a world-class conference. …

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