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    Answer Guide

    Write programme notes for two works which you will perform at your practical examination concert on 2nd June. 

    The programme notes should be well- written, and include information that is precise, well-researched, and that will contribute to an audience's understanding of the works performed. The notes should include a brief introduction to the composer, a section about the work’s historical context, the circumstances surrounding its composition, and with a description of the work itself. 

    Keep the information relevant and interesting, always write in your own words and keep the music as the main focus of your notes. Refer to concert material for examples of the usual length of programme notes, and acknowledge the sources of your researched material.

    Protest Music has been a very powerful and effective catalyst for change in the socio- political and historical context of humanity. Since the dawn of man, the Arts (Drama, Music and Art) have always been used to give a strong and provocative statement of anger, disapproval and/or disagreement to the status quo: from simple Bushmen rock paintings, to protest street theatre, to Hip-hop lyrics from a contemporary music artist. Even today, whilst enjoying the fruits of a democratic South Africa, there is a continual ‘struggle’ by the people against the present government, social issues and many other war-torn conflict situations around the world.

    Amandla!: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony is a 2002 documentary film depicting the struggles of black South Africans against the injustices of Apartheid through the use of music. The film takes its name from the Zulu and Xhosa word ‘amandla, which means power.


    Your assignment is to watch the award-winning documentary ‘Amandla: a documentary in four-part harmony’ and to research how this film documents the history of apartheid in South Africa and the critically important role music (vocal music in particular) plays in changing our broken country from the start of apartheid in 1948 to the birth democracy in 1994.

    Therefore, you are required to type a 1000-word research essay (Arial font 12, 1 1⁄2 spacing) in which you address in order of the following (Time stamps referring to the DVD are shown in brackets):

    A definition/understanding of what protest music is by placing your own understanding of the term in context to South Africa’s socio-political history. Refer to the importance of ‘song’ in African culture. (see 0:22:00

    Refer briefly to important historical events in the documentary from 1950 to 1994 in the following order:

    • 1948: Birth of Apartheid- Minister Hendrik Verwoerd (08:00:00)
    • 1950-60’s: Pass laws leading to the Sharpville Massacre (0:30:07)
    • 1976: Sowetan Uprising (0:40:39)
    • 1980’s: State of Emergency (1:08:48)
    • 1990: Unbanning of the ANC/Release of Nelson Mandela (1:22:55)
    • 1994: First democratic elections (1:24:00)

    Discuss in more detail any TWO of the following protest songs (and the accompanying composer or artist) that played an important role in transforming South Africa’s history to democracy. Focus on the lyrics and the mood/emotion of the music.

    a.     Pasop Verwoerd! – Vuyisile Mini (0:09:05 & 1:07:00)

    b.     Meadowlands - Mbongemi Ngema & Dolly Rathebe (0:11:34)

    c.     Nkosi Sikelel’i Afrika (The people’s anthem/African prayer) (0:17:40)

    d.     Stimela – Hugh Masikela (0:23:20)

    e.     Madam Please! -  Sophia Mgcina (0:28:40)

    f.      Thina Sizwe (0:31:50)

    g.     Nonqonqo Prison lament– Miriam Makeba (0:34:25)

    h.     Senzeni Na (what have we done?) – Sibongile Khumalo (0:38:50)

    i.      Mannenburg- Abdullah Ibrahim (0:43:47)

    j.      Bring back Nelson Mandela – Hugh Masikela (1:20:20)

    k.     O’ Nelson Mandela (1:31:35)


    A reference to the “Battle of Jericho” (1:21:00) is made at the conclusion of the documentary. Briefly elaborate how is this is inferred to the role of music to South Africa’s violent past.

     To conclude your essay, give your own opinion on the documentary.

    • In your opinion, how does music play a role in your personal life? What does it mean to you? Elaborate on examples you can reflect on.
    • Did you learn anything new and if so, elaborate further on your reason why? If not, elaborate too on your reason why with any relevant thoughts.
    • How has this documentary changed your view on music in general?


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