View map

UC Santa Barbara History Professor Mhoze Chikowero and University of Free State, South Africa History Professor Neo Lekgotla Ramoupi present: Echoes Across the Limpopo: Azania & Zimbabwe Musics of Self-Liberation

The 1960s-80s were an apocalyptic era in Southern Africa. Africans in the vast region took up arms and turned up the heat on the colonial governments that were tightening their collective knee on them, resulting in the political independence of Zimbabwe in 1980 and, across the river Limpopo in Azania (South Africa), the beginning of the loosening of the grip of apartheid. One of the major drivers of the liberation struggle was song, sung, performed and broadcast across the Berlin lines of colonization.

This two-person panel features historians Professor Neo Lekgotla Ramoupi (University of the Free State, South Africa), and Professor Mhoze Chikowero (UCSB History) speaking across the Limpopo about their vast research on this subject. The Limpopo is a storied river that unites the two countries in a symbiotic sensorium of self-liberation.

This event is presented by the Department of Music and the UCSB Africa Center, with co-sponsorship from the Orfalea Center and the Department of History.

Please email Scott Marcus ( for pre-circulated papers by both presenters.



Mhoze Chikowero is a scholar of African Self-Liberation; an Associate Professor of African History at the University of California, Santa Barbara; founder and director of the UCSB Africa Center; an organic farmer and founder of Uhuru Gardens, an innovative gardening project principally for African students at UCSB. Chikowero attained first-class Honors degree in Economic History at the University of Zimbabwe (2001) (grabbing the University Book Prize twice, 2000 and 2001) and my Masters and Ph.D. at Dalhousie University in Canada (2008) as a Killam Scholar. He was a past postdoctoral fellow of the Historical Institute at Rutgers University, American Council of Learned Societies Charles Ryskamp Fellow (2014-17), a past UCSB Interdisciplinary Humanities Center Fellow, Hellman Faculty Fellow, and a current Research Fellow at Leiden University, Netherlands. He works with artists and artist-supporting organizations—HiVos, Prince Claus Foundation (Netherlands) and is a consultant and writer with the African Liberation Museum in Harare, etc. His first book, African Music, Power and Being (2001), won the Kwabena Nketia Book Award (2016). He recently finished a sequel--Chimurenga Afrosonic Making of Zimbabwe: The Military Entertainment Complex (under review), and Matuzviadonha: Madzimbabwe Chiefs, Chimurenga and the Mechanics of the Rhodesian Loot Economy (under review). He is currently working on Tool of Empire, Technology of Self-Liberation: Colonial and Guerrilla Radio in Southern and Central Africa; and Cultural Rearmament: Conversations with Diana MaNgwenya Samkange—Musician, Healer, Midwife, and Farmer.

Neo Lekgotla Laga Ramoupi, PhD., is South African, an Associate Professor in the History Department at the University of Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein, Free State Province, in South Africa; and a Mellon Inclusive Professoriate Fellow: 2023 – 2024. He is a graduate of the then University of Natal, Durban campus (UKZN, Howard college) where he earned all his degrees BA to MA history level from 1989 – 1998. Before joining UFS in 2022, Neo was a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS) in Johannesburg for five years. Neo is the co-editor of the 2021 publication, Robben Island and Rainbow Dreams: The Making of Robben Island Museum, First Official Heritage Institution of Democratic South Africa (Pretoria: HSRC Press/BestRed, 2021), for which he was Project leader and Grant Recipient from the NIHSS. Neo’s Howard dissertation (2013) was turned into a manuscript titled Cultural Resistance on Robben Island: Songs of Struggle and Liberation in South Africa. IZINGOMA ZO MZABALAZO ESIQITHINI. It is expected to be published and launched in May/June 2024.

Neo is currently serving as member of the Editorial Board of African History Review, a biannual peer-reviewed academic journal at the Department of History at UNISA, published by Routledge Taylor and Francis Group in Collaboration with the Unisa Press, and of the Black Histories Dialogue; and serves as a member of the Advisory Board of America’s Voices Against Apartheid (AVAA), whose exhibition was officially opened at the Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg, in May 2023, by USA Ambassador to South Africa, Dr Reuben E. Brigety II and South African actor, Dr John Kani. In September 2023 this exhibition was officially opened at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in September 2023.

Professor Ramoupi’s research and teaching interests are focused around the Decolonizing & Africanizing of South African History, Heritage, and History of Education.



Event Details

0 people are interested in this event