Informal Learning of Indigenous Music and Dance Through Observation and Imitation as A Filter Through which All that is Encountered During the Transmission Process is Interpreted: The Case of Bapedi Children's Musical Arts.

Morakeng Edward Kenneth Lebaka
Department of Creative Arts; University of Zululand, Kwadlangezwa Campus


In Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality, Limpopo Province in South Africa, learning indigenous music and dance through observation and imitation seems to be a dominant and prominent practice of situational learning. Bapedi people tend to have their own distinctive music genres and purposes for their social events. Bapedi children’s musical arts reveal much about Bapedi people and their way of life. This paper sets out to discuss the transmission process of indigenous music and dance through observation and imitation; and musico-artistic skills acquired by children with at least a partial degree of independence during social and cultural events. In the Bapedi culture, music is a natural phenomenon. Dance too, is not excluded. It is a significant aspect of Bapedi people’s music tradition and a ubiquitous medium of communication or expression. Informal interviews, direct observations and video recordings were employed to collect data. The following research questions therefore guided this study: 1) How is social interaction in the Bapedi society viewed as a critical component of situational learning involving the transmission of children’s musical arts? and 2) Do children in the Bapedi society have the ability to recognize and interpret what musical activity/event is taking place and to participate in ways sensitive to the context? The investigation has revealed that in the Bapedi culture, informal learning of indigenous music and dance; and social processes are indissolubly linked and take place within contexts in which members of the society relate to each other and their environment. The results of this study have further shown that the spectrum of learning experiences can range from accidental, unintentional, or reluctant forms of learning to active, intentional, involved, and highly valued forms of learning. It was concluded that in early childhood, it is play that underlies almost all informal learning and holism is a dominant principle in music and dance enculturation process of Bapedi children’s musical arts. Keywords: Indigenous music and dance, informal learning, Bapedi society, children’s musical arts, situational learning, Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality.


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