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Ghanaian master-drummer Obo Addy.
Bushmen may be the oldest inhabitants of the African continent, but their prehistory is obscure. Their anatomy, language, and culture are unique among indigenous
African peoples. The characteristic clicks gurgles and guttural sounds of their language
have influenced the Bantu and other tribes in the Khoisan area.
Bushmen are divided into three main tribes: the Kaikoum, the Auen and the !Kung.
The Auen live in the southern Kalahari; a few Kaikoum live in eastern Ovamboland
(South-West Africa); and the largest group, the !Kung, live in the north, west, and
central Kalahari.
The !Kung make music on all occasions all day long. The sanza, the most common
instrument, is used to accompany dancing and singing and is played only by men.
The one-stringed fiddle, however, is played by both sexes. The fiddle is made from
bamboo with animal sinew for the vibrating string, and a dried calabash, ostrich
egg shell, or the mouth provides the resonating chamber. Though the music of the
Bushmen has not been studied extensively by musicologists, they have a reputation
as being Southern Africa’s most proficient musicians.
Other traditional music can be found in all regions of Southern Africa. Much of
the music in other portions of the region has assumed a more contemporary form.
In Angola, in particular, freedom songs have continued to evolve since the rebellion
34 • Bigotry and the Afrocentric “Jazz” Evolution