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Close to a month ago, I attended a show by Abdullah Ibrahim with his New York City-based band Ekaya at the University of Witwatersrand’s Great Hall. Ibrahim is a jazz artist who represented the sound of a time and place with compositions like “Mannenberg.” Combined with his fantastic musicianship, he is a legendary jazz player and composer, and, at the end of the day, a consummate South African artist.

A newer player, not nearly on the level of Ibrahim, but highly notable nonetheless is guitarist Selaelo Selota. My friend Kulani Nkuna recently interviewed him for The Times. In the piece, Selota discusses how he has used music to search for his northern South African, Pedi roots.

In Ibrahim’s time, it was most artistically relevant to reflect the sound of the townships, the sound of an often silenced, significant part of South Africa’s culture. For contemporary artists like Selota, and even pop star Thandiswa Mazwai, it has become more important to harken back to a deeper past, incorporating rural, traditional sounds.

Two (related) ways that township life reflects the day’s headlines = two of my recent video reports for The Times:

Expectations for a Zuma presidency in Alex

Continuing horror of last year’s xenophobic attacks