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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Battling over Borders: Narratives of Resistance to the South African Border War Voiced through Popular Music
Author:Drewett, Michael
Periodical:Social Dynamics
Geographic term:South Africa
military intervention
armed forces
popular music
Architecture and the Arts
History and Exploration
Inter-African Relations
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02533950308628651
Abstract:This paper explores instances in which popular music captured contesting narratives over the South African border war of the 1970s and 1980s. It is particularly concerned with the use of 'the border' as a trope for situating ideological and political contests arising out of the border war and conscription into the South African Defence Force (SADF). Popular music was an important means by which such narratives could be expressed. During this period South African musicians coming to terms with various aspects of the war wrote many songs reflecting the trauma of their situation and thereby acted as 'movement intellectuals' broadly aligned to the anti-war movement, spearheaded by organizations such as the End Conscription Campaign. The paper especially focuses on those songs that entwined personal experience and sentiments with resistance to the military, characteristic of the left of that time. It argues that the songs captured the contested nature of borders, the way they shift and can be crossed. The paper demonstrates that, even in the face of strong State/military hegemony, localized forms of resistance were formulated through popular music and have impacted on the memory of the border war. The lyrics and music capture the convictions of the time, ensuring that these important narratives are potentially preserved in the collective memory of South Africa's past. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]