Your time at studying Musicology
When I came to enrol for my Masters in Musicology at Edinburgh, I had never been to the United Kingdom. I had never left the African continent for an extended period of time and I had never lived in a cold country. I was nervous. Despite this, I had the most magical year – a year I think of often and think back on as pivotal for my intellectual and personal development. It was a year of incredibly hard work, beautiful countryside trips, and total emersion into the musical life of the city.
The music department exposed me to electroacoustic music and historical musicology which I hadn’t had any experience of before in my studies. I attended incredible early music choral concerts in the various churches across the city, and towards the end of my studies, I volunteered for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and got to attend incredible symphonic concerts of the highest quality. I worked at the Christmas Market and drank mead to keep warm in the wet, cold at the end of long days. I went to folk sessions in various pubs and heard incredibly beautiful songs which I still think of today.
I learned and did so much with my fellow students and friends, but I think my best memories are solitary ones: practising the piano early in the morning in the quiet basement practice rooms; studying in incredibly old, dark buildings; exploring the city and country with my own thoughts, processing everything I was learning.
Your experiences since leaving
Whilst at Edinburgh, I got to study with Professor Simon Frith and that was important to me. I came back from my programme with some clear direction: I wanted to work in African music and to focus on musical performance. I lived in Cape Town briefly and then went to SOAS to enrol in their Masters in Performance programme.
After that, I returned to the University of Cape Town to register for my PhD specialising in indigenous music in the Kingdom of eSwatini (where I grew up), supervised by Professor Sylvia Bruinders. I was awarded a Commonwealth Split-Site grant which allowed me to do half of my PhD at SOAS under Dr Angela Impey, a notable Africanist ethnomusicologist who works in eSwatini as well.