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Prof’s book advocates for the promotion of Venda choral music



South African choral music’s production has increased noticeably over the past few years. Venda choral music repertoire has, however, received little attention in terms of collection, documentation, preservation, and promotion. Vhasiki Vhaṋanguludzwa vha Vhavenḓa vha Muzika wa Dzikhwairi (Selected Venda Choral Music Composers and their Compositions), a new book by Prof Ndwamaṱo George Mugovhani, retired Professor at the TUT’s Faculty of Arts and Design (Department of Performing Arts), sets this unfortunate record straight.

Venda choral music

Prof Ndwamaṱo George Mugovhani posing with his latest book, Vhasiki Vhaṋanguludzwa vha Vhavenḓa vha Muzika wa Dzikhwairi.

Vhavenda choral music is an art form that has its foundations and historical development traced in the book launched at the Faculty of Arts and Design on 16 March. A description of the socio-political circumstances that shaped Venda choral music is included in the book, as well as tracing and describing the existing Venda choral tradition within the context of Venda history, culture, tradition, and language to identify and describe its factors that shaped it. 

“Furthermore, the book examines how Venda choral music has developed over the years in South Africa, and whether Venda composers like Stephen Maimela Dzivhani, Derrick Nephawe, Khorommbi Joseph Nonge, Thinawanga Israel Ramabannda, and Fhatuwani Hamilton Sumbana have gained recognition within the indigenous South African choral fraternity,” says Prof Mugovhani. 

The book examines the reasons for the slow growth of Venda choral music’s repertoire and respect, as well as the reason for its marginalisation in national competitions. As a result of the book, he urges current and future composers of the Vhavenda language group to promote Venda choral music. As part of the author’s quest to address the marginalisation of Venda in choral music discourse, the book also presents the lived experiences of composers of Tshivenda songs who were interviewed by the author

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promotion of Venda choral music

Reviewers have overwhelmingly praised the book. According to one reviewer, “Vhavena voices, customs and traditions, as well as Venda choral music, will be a great resource for academics, composers, musicians, researchers, and students. As well as preserving Venda choral music, the book also includes the works of the composers who composed it. In order to preserve and archive the works of Venda composers before they become extinct, it is important to preserve their available works from the past or the present. It would be great if this book were published in English since its content would appeal to a wide audience.” 

Vhasiki Vhaṋanguludzwa vha Vhavenḓa vha Muzika wa Dzikhwairi (ISBN: 978-1-77615-132-5) is published by Unisa Press and available at R250 from


A proud moment for Prof Ndwamaṱo George Mugovhani (third from left) at the launch of his latest book, Vhasiki Vhaṋanguludzwa vha Vhavenḓa vha Muzika wa Dzikhwairi. Posing with him are (from left) Dr Meiya G. Nthoesane, Unisa Press Director; Prof Thomas M. Sengani, retired Professor, African Languages, University of South Africa; and Dr Lebogang L. Nawa, Secretary General: National Writers Association of South Africa.

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