Eisteddfod in Suid-Afrika met spesifieke verwysing na die Paarl Vallei Eisteddfod

Du Toit-Pearce, Minette (2009-03)

Thesis (MMus (Music))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


The purpose of this thesis is twofold. In the first instance, it is to document the origins and history of the eisteddfod in general, and more specifically, in South Africa. In the second instance, this thesis will attempt to describe the meaning and role of the eisteddfod in South Africa. This will be achieved with the help of a case study, which will require that a local eisteddfod be researched and discussed. As a result of involvement with eisteddfods over a period of twenty-five years (first as a participant and later as a teacher and a member of the judging panel), the writer has, over time, become increasingly fascinated with the phenomenon of the eisteddfod. Some of the questions that have arisen include: Why do eisteddfods still take palce in South Africa? What role do they play in the present-day cultural education of learners? Do they still bear relevance in current musical (specifically vocal) practice? This thesis is aimed at determining why such high value is attached to eisteddfods in certain communities. Why did this centuries-old tradition, brought from the northern hemisphere to South Africa, survive for so long? And why is it so important for some teachers, parents and children that they must participate? There is a large volume of literature concerning the international history of the eisteddfod. As this general history is already comprehensively described, it will only be presented in this thesis as a broad historical framework for the more specific history of the eisteddfod in South Africa. The local history of the eisteddfod is, however, poorly covered by published information. The literature in existence is often incomplete, and in most cases covers only up to the 1960‟s. News and magazine archives can only really help to identify the location and date of various eisteddfods, and to highlight some interesting aspects thereof. The latest academic literature was published as far back as 1994. The hypothesis of the current study relates to the suspicion that significant change has taken place in the last thirteen years (since 1994) regarding the meaning and vi function of the eisteddfod in South Africa. As the literature relating to this period is so sparse, this hypothesis will be empirically tested in a case study. To place the eisteddfod in South Africa in a historical context it is important to first investigate its origins. Its origin in Wales and subsequent development will be examined. This background study will assist in determining how eisteddfods in South Africa compare with those in other countries. To describe the development of the eisteddfod in South Africa is more complicated, due to the lack of an accurately described history. The defined scope of this thesis does not, however, include the production of an accurate history. Rather, a partial history is compiled using contemporary sources such as newspapers and magazines, as well as secondary sources. The most important and possibly the most challenging aspect of this thesis concerns an in-depth investigation of the Paarl-Valley Eisteddfod. The purpose of this investigation was an empirical study to collect information regarding a specific eisteddfod as well as the community that participate and support it. This information was used to form interpretations as to whether an institution like the eisteddfod is still relevant, and if it still adds value to the development of children, learners and musicians. It also helped to direct speculation about the meaning and function of the eisteddfod to participants, parents and teachers.

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