Mntwana (Princess) Magogo, daughter of the Zulu King, Dinuzulu KaCetshwayo (1868–1913), and principal wife of Inkosi (Chief) Mathole Buthelezi, head of the Buthelezi clan. Rycroft [1975/6] described her as ‘the greatest living authority on Zulu music’, as well as ‘an expert performer without peer’, with a vocal range of some three octaves, and apparently the last remaining player (in the classical sense) of the historically important ugubhu musical bow. One of South Africa’s most significant composers (some, indeed, consider her to be one of the most important women composers to have come out of Africa as a whole), Princess Magogo was an altogether remarkable figure, both as woman and artist, far in advance of her time and situation, with a particular sensitivity for the striking image, the poetic capacity of her language and its apt melodic setting. Her music gained notice first in 1939, when Hugh Tracey made his pioneering recordings of her performances. In the 1950s he recorded further series, and his lead was followed over the ensuing years by others, including Rycroft, the South African Broadcasting Corporation and West German Radio.

The Princess’s royal origins meant that she was uniquely situated to become a repository of Zulu history and musical culture, since she was exposed to traditional music from a wide variety of sources — not only that used by the Court and in public ceremonial, but also songs of the people and personal lyrics of a more intimate type — some of which reflect a musical lineage dating back as far as the reign of the great King Shaka KaSenzangakhona (regn.1816–1828), and perhaps even earlier. In addition to preserving a vast repertoire of traditional songs, the Princess also composed original works in the same style. Perhaps the most distinguishing features of her own compositions are their unusual solistic format, fully developed formal structure and moving poetic and musical subtlety, characteristics that set them uniquely apart from other endeavours of their kind. Like many a royal personage, the Princess experienced a crucial conflict between duty and personal inclination in her private life: the explicit passion that permeates her love-lyrics — so unusual for a woman in her social and historical context — was inspired by a profound romantic attachment in her youth, which she suppressed in order to enter into a dynastically arranged marriage with her husband, and which she appeared never to forget. Biographical and social issues in fact find frequent reflection, to a greater or lesser degree, in Princess Magogo’s musical works.

(Robert Buning, SAMRO)


UMntwana (Princess) u-Constance Magogo Sibilile Mantithi Ngangezinye Thombisile KaDinuzulu Buthelezi (Nongoma 1900–Mahlabathini 21.11.1984) indodakazi yeNgonyama yamaZulu, uDinuzulu KaCetshwayo (1868–1913), noNdlunkulu ongunina wesizwe seNkosi (Chief) uMathole Buthelezi, inhloko yesizwe sakwaButhelezi. U-Rycroft [1975/6] wamchaza njeng’ alowo kwabaphilayo okunguyena obedlula bonke kulwazi lomculo wesiZulu', futhi 'noyingcweti ekuculeni nasekudlaleni ugubhu nomakhweyana, futhi onephimbo elisukela ekundondeni lenyuke lize liyoshona phezulu, kanti futhi ungathi ungumdlali ongowokugcina (ngokwaziswa nangesithunzi) wogubhu nolukamakhweyana. Ungomunye wabaqambi bezingoma ababalulekile baseNingizimu Afrika (abanye, ngempela, bamthatha njengomqambi ovulele kwabesifazane kwelaseAfrika yonkana). UMntwana uMagogo wayengumuntu omangalisayo, njengowesifazane kanye nanjengomculi, eseqhubekele phambili ngokwedlulele kwisikhathi kanye nesimo abephila kuso, enozwelo olukhethekile lwesithombe sempilo esikhangayo, ubunkondlo bolimi lwakhe kanye nokuhlelwa kwabo njengomculo omnandi.

Umculo wakhe wazuza ukunakwa okokuqala ngo-1939, ngenkathi u-Hugh Tracey ewuqopha okokuqala. Ngawo 1950 waphinde waqopha omunye futhi, walandelwa ngeminyaka elandelayo ngabanye, abanjengoRycroft, nabezokusakaza baseNingizimu Afrika kanye nomsakazo waseNtshonalanga Jalimani. Ukuzalelwa ebukhosini koMntwana kwakusho ukuthi wayebekeke ngendlela engcono kuneyabanye eyamenza abe yinqolobane yomlando kaZulu kanye nesiko lomculo, njengoba wayebona imiculo yesintu njalo ivela kwimithombo enhlobonhlobo — hhayi kuphela leyo eyayisetshenziswa eBandla kanye nasemikhosini yabantu bonke, kodwa namaculo aphathelene nabantu kanye nezosha ezihlatshelelwayo eziwuhlobo oluthintana kakhulu nomuntu uqobo lwakhe — ezinye zazo ezibonisa uhlobo lomculo lwezinkathi zamandulo njengesikhathi sokubusa kweNkosi uShaka kaSenzangakhona (wabusa ngo 1816–1828), kanti mhlawumbe nangaphambidlana kwalokho.


Ukwengeza ekulondolozeni inqolobane yamaculo omdabu, uMntwana wabuye waqamba awakhe amaculo ngesitayela esifanayo. Mhlawumbe izici ezivelele ukuzedlula zonke zala maculo azihlanganisele wona yena ngokwakhe, yisimo esingavamile sokucula ngayedwana, isakhiwo sesimo esithuthuke ngokuphelele nobunkondlo obunyakazisa imizwa kanye nobuhlakani kwezomculo, izici ezehlukanisa amaculo akhe kweminye imizamo afaniswa nayo.

Njengabaningi abanesithunzi sasebukhosini, uMntwana wathola ukungqubuzana phakathi kokufanele akwenze kanye nemizwa yempilo yakhe yangasese: uthando olunamandla nolusobala olungena lugcwale kwizosha zakhe ezihlatshelelwayo — okungokungavamile ukuvela kumuntu wesifazane okhulele endaweni efana naleyo akhulela kuyo kanye nonomlando ofana nowakhe — wagqugquzelwa uthando olujulile lobusha bakhe, alugqibayo ukuze angene emshadweni owawuhleliwe wasebukhosini nomyeni wakhe, okubonakala kwangathi kodwa akazange alulibale. Kuningi okuphathelene nempilo yakhe kanye nendlela yokuhlalisana esihlangabezana nakho emaculweni oMntwana uMagogo.

(Robert Buning, SAMRO)


Since Princess Magogo’s works exist authentically only on her own recordings, the central questions are: ‘what recordings exist, and where are they housed?’ Rycroft [1975/6] gives six separate sources, but has not included Huskisson’s list, nor a series of recordings made in the 1970s for West German Radio in Cologne. There may well be others, and the issue is complicated by the fact that, where more than one recording exists for a title, there can be considerable variation in the material. A comprehensive list of the Princess’s works, both original and arranged, would accordingly require not only acquisition of all existing recordings of her performances, but also detailed textual and musical analysis thereof to produce a catalogue raisonné.


References:

COHEN, Aaron I.: International Encyclopedia of Women Composers, 2/e, 2 Vols., New York: Books & Music (USA) Inc., 1987, s.v. ‘Magogo’.


HUSKISSON, Yvonne.: The Bantu Composers of Southern Africa, Johannesburg: South African Broadcasting Corporation, 1969, s.v. ‘Buthelezi’.


RYCROFT, David Kenneth: ‘A Royal Account of Music in Zulu Life’, in: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London: London University, Vol. 38, No. 2, 1975, pp. 351–402.


RYCROFT, David Kenneth: ‘The Zulu Bow Songs of Princess Magogo’, in: African Music, Grahamstown: Rhodes University, Vol. 5, No. 4, 1975/6, pp. 41–97.


SOUTHERN AFRICAN MUSIC RIGHTS ORGANISATION, LIMITED (SAMRO): Princess Magogo: A Portrait, Johannesburg: SAMRO, 2003.


TRACEY, Hugh Travers: Catalogue: The Sound of Africa Series, 2 Vols., Roodepoort: International Library of African Music, 1973, s.v.


WEMAN, Henry: African Music and the Church in Africa, Uppsala: Svenska Institutet for Missionsforskning, 1960, p. 96ff.



 

BUTHELEZI, Constance Magogo Sibilile Mantithi Ngangezinye Thombisile KaDinuzulu


(b. Nongoma 1900; d. Mahlabathini 21 November 1984)