Short bio

4th Africa Century International African Writers Conference


Contribution of the African Writer to the Development of the Continent: Inclusion, Equality and Development in African Literature.


Place and role of women literary and other artists: post-colonial governance during Africa’s Renaissance in the African Century

Proposed Title:

What of Culture, Music and Consciousness: A critique on the legacy of Miriam Makeba and the contemporality of Simphiwe Dana


The African struggle narrative is inextricable from ‘raising consciousness art’. From Fela Kuti to Angelique Kidjo, Salif Keita or Cesaria Evora, music of such artists has accompanied the struggle as a mirror for critical self-refection and an outlet for edification. However, no two artists, for their respective occupation of the imagination of South Africa and the continent, have captured the space of ‘raising consciousness art’ as Miriam Makeba and Simphiwe Dana have. Makeba, in elucidating the plight of Apartheid South Africa and the colonised continent; and Dana, in illuminating the sustained challenges facing the post-colonial African body, the two have championed a vanguardian narrative through their sound, styling and symbolism as artists. Yet, their acts of elucidation/illumination are/were not limited to the stage performance as they fully embody the political as personal and the personal as political in their lives, through the written word and political activity. Avoiding superficial comparisons of the two by way of a triangulative methodology, this paper attempts to address the ideological, epistemic and contextual similarities, critiques and consciousnesses that the two embody(ied) in their artistry. The paper will conclude with a critique of the appropriateness of the conferring on Dana the title of ‘conduit’ to Makeba’s legacy.


Biographical Note:

Thato Magano is currently pursuing his MA in Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. He co-partner and columnist at as well as co-founder and Strategy Director at Ponelesego Youth Development Projects. In a previous life, he was the youngest academic in the Department of Marketing and Communication Management at the University of Pretoria and a branding enthusiast at Cadbury South Africa.

Cell: +27(0)72 331 7073