Kruger’s lost voice : nation and race in pre-World War 1 Afrikaans music records

Van der Merwe, Schalk D. (2015-05)

CITATION: Van der Merwe, S. D. 2015. Kruger’s lost voice : nation and race in pre-World War 1 Afrikaans music records. Historia, 60(1):110-128, doi:10.17159/2309-8392/2015/v60n1a7.

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On a theoretical level, popular music records serve as artefacts of the social and cultural networks in which their particular performers are embedded. Seen from this perspective, the appearance of the earliest Afrikaans gramophone records coincided with a crucial juncture in the formation of Afrikaner identity, as well as the development of the language itself. This article is a forensic investigation into the socio-political contexts in which the first Afrikaans gramophone records were produced. Its sources include updated discographic catalogues that have led to the discovery of listings of a number of recordings that pre-date the previously earliest known Africana and Afrikaans records. Most of the first Africana recordings were of the national anthems of the two Boer republics during and shortly after the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) and sung by Dutch singers. The first Afrikaans recordings by people beginning to define themselves as Afrikaners, date back to 1906, while local advertisements for Afrikaans records began to appear in 1910. This article will seek to explore the link between these recordings and claims for nationhood based on the linguistic identity of a key group of white Afrikaans speakers.

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