You Can't Go to War without Song
Performance and Community Mobilization in South Africa
Published by: Indiana University Press
You Can't Go to War without Song explores the role of public performance in political activism in contemporary South Africa. Weaving together detailed ethnographic fieldwork and an astute theoretical framework, Omotayo Jolaosho examines the cohesive power of protest songs and dances within the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF), one of many social movements that emerged in the wake of South Africa's democratic transition after 1994.
Jolaosho demonstrates the ways APF members adapted anti-apartheid songs and dance to create new expressive forms that informed and commented on their struggles for access to water, electricity, housing, education, and health facilities, the costs of which had been made prohibitive by privatization.
You Can't Go to War without Song offers profiles of individual activists to amplify its central point: social movements like the APF are best understood as the coming together of individuals, and it is the songs and dances of the movement that bind these individual together and create opportunity for community organization. Chapters on women and youth complicate such understandings of community, however, showing how activist live and experiences are shaped by gender and generation.
Activist Portrait: Ma Patrycja
Activist Portrait: Kanelo
Activist Portrait: Lebo
Activist Portrait: Willeen
"You Can't Go to War without Song is an exceptional ethnography that is carefully and thoughtfully researched and engagingly written with a keen sensitivity to the relational and power dynamics of post-apartheid mobilization movements in South Africa."~Yolanda Covington-Ward, University of Pittsburgh