South African music is characterized by its fusion of diverse musical forms from South Africa and overseas. By the 1950s unique musical styles had emerged, developed by black musicians in many South African townships. Township jazz, songs, dance, and popular music reflect a combination of traditional music, especially of the Zulu and Sotho peoples, with African American rhythm and blues, jazz, and blues. Some musicians who play in this hybrid style have won international acclaim, including Hugh Masekela, Mahlathini Nezintombi Zomgqashiyo, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Ladysmith Black Mambazo performs isicathamiya, a Zulu-influenced choral style that is sung a cappella, or without instrumental accompaniment. The group became prominent through their collaboration with American singer and songwriter Paul Simon.
Also of note are the accordion jive music of Nelcy Sedibe, which developed as township street music and was influenced by American swing, and the modern, electric versions of Zulu traditional music performed by Moses Mchunu. Classical composers have begun to experiment with traditional African musical instruments as well. The Soweto String Quartet has emerged as an important example of this approach.
The development of dance in recent years is linked to the development of protest musicals in the theater. Styles of dancing on the stage include the toyi-toyi, a militant marching dance adapted from South African protest marches, as well as traditional Zulu dances. There are three professional ballet companies in South Africa and several independent groups.
South African theater won international acclaim in the 1980s. A distinctive theater form emerged from the tense sociopolitical climate of the 1970s and 1980s. New and alternative theater groups were established, and a playwriting tradition developed, influenced by the Black Consciousness Movement. This theater form uses popular theater as a vehicle of protest and social commentary, mixing African and Western elements in productions of intense energy and vitality. This tradition is perhaps best exemplified by the work of Athol Fugard and by the world-famous Market Theatre in Johannesburg.
A national film industry has been slow to develop in South Africa. This is in part due to past apartheid policies and ineffective state subsidies for film. Darryl Roodt’s A Place of Weeping (1986) was the first film criticizing apartheid ever shown on the South African film circuit and effectively marked the beginning of an alternative film industry in South Africa.
In 1995 Roodt also directed Cry the Beloved Country, based on a novel by Alan Paton. In 1995 the government created a fund for training and developing emerging talent in the local film industry, and a new film subsidy scheme. The Cape Film and Video Foundation, founded in 1993, actively promotes the Cape provinces as locations for international filmmaking. "South Africa" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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