168pp., illus., map, paperback, Pietermaritzburg, 2020
Based on a community of women from Zwelibomvu near Pinetown, South Africa, this study examines the content and purposes of the songs that women and rural women in particular use to help them deal with the issues affecting them in a patriarchal society.
"Seziyosengwa yinkehli! (There is power in a women's voice). This inspiring book by a woman writer gives other women a platform to tell their stories in the best African way possible - ngomculo (through music)." Boni Zungu, Senior Lecturer, African Languages, University of the Witwatersrand
"A fresh and intimate portrait of women's songs in contemporary rural KwaZulu-Natal, Zondi's work critically interrogates the mutlifaceted reasons why women sing. It recognises the complexity of oral performances that both challenge and reproduce the everyday norms of gender oppression and inequality. Bahlabelelelani is a valuable and much-needed addition to cultural studies of oral traditions and literary performance." Emily Margaretten, author of Street Life Under a Roof: youth homelessness in South Africa
Nompumelelo Zondi is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of African Languages at the University of Pretoria.