Armed with a light bulb at the end of a cord: the ten-year journey of Domus.
I became involved in the world of archives and libraries after completing my BMus degree at Stellenbosch University in 2001. The successful conclusion of my studies (and the huge debts incurred!) took me to teaching in the United Kingdom, a decision that was also informed by the limited opportunities for me to work as an archivist/librarian on music materials at South African tertiary institutions.
Returning to South Africa in 2003, I met a South African musicologist at the Stellen-bosch University Main Library Special Collections section. Stephanus Muller, who was working on the biography of a South African composer, Arnold van Wyk, told me of the difficulties he had encountered as a researcher consulting unsorted primary materials for his research. This meant that he had to sort the music sketches and manuscripts first in order to continue with his research. At the time I thought this to be as problematic as it was reassuring; Muller's predicament meant that there was, indeed, a need from the side of scholarship for institutional processing of primary materials in music. Based on conversations with Muller and former Head of Special Collections at the J. S. Gericke Library at Stellenbosch University, Hanna Botha, I decided to enrol at the University of Cape Town for a Postgraduate Diploma in Library and Information Science (PGDipLIS) in 2004. Towards the end of these studies, I had the opportunity to work on composer Eric Chisholm's collection at the University of Cape Town Manuscripts and Archives section. (2)
In July 2005, I received a telephone call from Muller (who had since been appointed in a temporary capacity in the Stellenbosch University Music Department) stating that a project that he proposed to the Library and Information Service and the Music Department under the name DOMUS, had been approved and that ad hoc funding from the Music Department had been made available for six months to sort the collection of conductor-composer Albert Coates. This collection was donated by Coates's wife, Vera, in 1957. I immediately accepted this proposal and reported for duty on 1 August 2005.
Although the Coates collection served as initial assignment in this venture, Muller and I decided to draft a mission and vision for DOMUS, as well as general policy documents for collection usage. Preliminary lists on a box/folder basis were also drafted for existing special collections in the Music Library. (3) In the absence of physical and electronic infrastructure, funding and IT skills for database construction expertise, our interim solution was to compile preliminary sorting lists and finding aids in Word and PDF format. (4) I frequently consulted with the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University (the J. S. Gericke Special Collections staff and Music Library staff), as we worked towards differentiating the activities of DOMUS and the Stellenbosch University Music Library. Two offices within the Music Library that were refurbished into one larger space now serve as working and storage space for DOMUS. DOMUS has also been allocated additional storage space by the Music Library.
It soon became clear that the ca. 1,700 items in the Coates collection would require far longer to catalogue than the six months that we had initially estimated. Funded by the Stellenbosch University Music Department, the grant was extended by another year (through 2006). During this time both Muller and the current author spent hours in the archive, perusing and ordering the existing collections. (5) During 2006, student assistants, funded by the Music Department, helped both with work on collections and administration.
Already by 2006, DOMUS had started to create an academic presence based on the collections in the archive. Topics for conference presentations and postgraduate studies drawing from materials located in DOMUS became more frequent. (6) In November 2006, Charles de Long, a former member of the Eoan opera group, called DOMUS regarding a reunion concert of the group. Following up on this enquiry, the present writer discovered an extensive document collection associated with the group that still existed in Athlone in Cape Town. Enquiries about the collection eventually led to negotiations to transfer this important archive to DOMUS. The Eoan archive and subsequent scholarly and creative projects would become definitive of DOMUS's first decade and the kind of institution into which it was developing. (7)
In 2007, Muller, who was now a full-time lecturer in the Department of Music with three-eighths of his position earmarked for work on DOMUS, managed to obtain funding from Het Jan Marais Nationale Fonds, which funded the position of the current author for a year, together with conference attendance and postgraduate studies. DOMUS increasingly started participating in the international arena. It established networks at the conference of the International Association of Music Libraries and Document Centers (IAML) and became instrumental in data capturing of South African content for Repertoire International de Litterature Musicale (RILM). (8) An online presence was also created by the launch of the DOMUS web site and logo. (9)
The Eoan donation set the tone for academic and archival work that took engagement with non-academic communities, the owners of the 'cultural capital' of the archive, seriously. Negotiations with the Eoan Board and consultations with the historical role players were complicated by the fact that Eoan, a so-called "Coloured" organization, had had an ambiguous position with the authorities during apartheid, while Stellenbosch University had historically been closely connected to the apartheid regime. Talks progressed slowly as each organization had to define itself in relation to the other. Beyond any historical and political questions, it was also necessary to establish relationships of trust. It was only after a year of negotiations that the final documents could be signed. (10) Eventually a 99-year loan agreement was signed in January 2008, according to which DOMUS undertook to sort the collection and to launch an oral history book publication. Although this was by far the biggest new acquisition for the Music Special Collections since the acquisition of the Scott and Coates collections in 1976 and 1957 respectively, it was not the first new DOMUS collection. That position belonged to the materials of twelve-tone composer Graham Newcater (born 1941). The DOMUS web presence for Newcater would eventually lead to a further donation in 2010 from a Newcater acquaintance, James Woods, resident in the UK. Also in 2007, the Coates collection finding aid was finalised and launched, (11) together with an exhibition and performance attended by Coates and De Villiers family members.
Financial uncertainties for the daily operations of DOMUS in 2008 were solved through ad hoc funding for the Special Collections Librarian by the Vice-Rector (Research) of Stellenbosch University. The first major collection expedition for DOMUS took place on 26 February 2008, when a number of students accompanied Muller and the current author to the Joseph Stone Theatre in Athlone to collect the Eoan archive. Armed with a light bulb attached to the end of an electric cord, the DOMUS team excavated documents from wicker baskets underneath the stage at the Joseph Stone Theatre, hidden for decades. Muller's successful appeal to the Stellenbosch University Strategic Fund for the processing of the collection and for work on the Eoan book project (as stipulated by the contract) enabled the project to go ahead. After consultations with members of the public and former Eoan members, a committee was constituted to drive the book process. The entire process (meetings and interviews) was filmed by film maker Aryan Kaganof (formerly known as Ian Kerkhof), with whom DOMUS would establish a long-term working collaboration on different projects subsequent to the Eoan project.
In the same year, DOMUS's involvement in RILM extended when Muller took over as Chair and the current author as secretary, with the implication that DOMUS became the African representative for RILM. Gradually, more collections were donated to DOMUS; many of them as a result of the musicological networks cultivated by Muller. These included the collection of New Music organization Obelisk Music and that of the composer Stefans Grove. (12) Probing intellectually outside the Western art music idiom, DOMUS sponsored seminars held by ethnomusicologist Marie Jorritsma (accompanied by An-Lize and Letitia Davids and the late Alex van Heerden) on koortjies sung in the True Evangelical Church in Atlantis, and by musicologist Barbara Titus on South African street music (maskanda). (13) Jonathan Eato from the University of York in the United Kingdom, hosted in 2007-2008 on a postdoctoral fellowship and with whom DOMUS subsequently established a long-standing working relationship, introduced jazz into the ambit of DOMUS's engagements. The present writer's Master's Degree was also nearing completion, and eventually culminated in a database of South African music collections, with field trips funded by the South African Music Archive Project (SAMAP) and with the expertise of Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service (SULIS) IT specialist Wouter Klapwijk. (14)
In 2009, a permanent appointment was finally created for a Special Collections Librarian at DOMUS in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. DOMUS continued to expand its intellectual and archival interests: workshops and performances by veteran Xhosa musician Latozi Mpahleni (alias Madosini) were held, a set theory workshop was presented by composer Hannes Taljaard, and a collaboration between DOMUS and the Komitee vir Eietydse Musiek (KEMUS) (Committee for Contemporary Music) on the sixtieth birthday of composer Kevin Volans saw DOMUS host its first composer symposium. A collecting trip further afield to Ballito near Durban on the east coast, added the estate of the important Zimbabwean/South African composer Christopher James to the DOMUS collections. (15)
In December 2010 DOMUS was involved in screening Aryan Kaganof's film, The Uprising of Hangberg in Kayamandi Township, Stellenbosch. The Hangberg reggae band, BLAZE, performed at the screening. Kaganof's film narrates the controversy surrounding the eviction of residents of the Hangberg community in Hout Bay, Cape Town. The performance was recorded and marks the first DVD recording issued under the DOMUS label in 2011. (16) Once again, the diverse activities for the year included a DOMUS/KEMUS lecture series presented by Jean-Pierre de la Porte, seminars on the 'modern orchestra' by Raymond Holden, and a concert by late jazz musician Zim Ngqawana and pianist and composer Kyle Shepherd. Reflecting on the Music and Exile: North-South Narratives Symposium held at the Johannesburg Goethe Institute in January 2010, (17) DOMUS sponsored round table discussions on music and exile as well as on the state of the music discipline in South Africa at the joint conference of the International Musicological Society (IMS) and South African Society for Research in Music (SASRIM), held at Stellenbosch University from 14-17 July 2010. (18)
The present author's role within the Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service environment gradually started escalating with the attendance of a Library Academy, funded by the Carnegie Corporation in New York. The Library Academy is part of a larger programme that aligns the Library to a greater extent with research, thus fitting perfectly with DOMUS's own agenda of connecting the archive to an intellectual project. Subsequent to this, the present author has become responsible for the postgraduate research support and training at the Music Library, again strengthening DOMUS's support of and involvement with research. This entails compiling subject guides, providing music database training and contributing to the research process guide for Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service. (19)
In 2011, DOMUS celebrated the birthday anniversaries of Michael Blake (60th-celebrated with a seminar and exhibition) and twelve-tone composer Graham Newcater (70th-marked with a concert and exhibition with the composer present). Newcater also received the Music Department's Parnassus Award for music achievement. Michael Blake donated his collection to DOMUS in the same year. At the same time, with the passing of composer Hubert du Plessis, a Music Department tribute (performance and exhibition with materials from DOMUS) was held for this important composer whose literary estate was left to the Special Collections in the Music Department. Further ventures for the year included a CD recording featuring Tete Mbambisa (20) and a composition commission for DOMUS. (21) The collection development policy was further adapted to include the collections of Aryan Kaganof (who was celebrated by DOMUS during the Stellenbosch Woordfees with the AK 47 Film Festival for his 47th birthday, curated by Lizabe Lambrechts), and the Boeremusiekgilde photographs by Niklas Zimmer. (22) DOMUS made its first venture north of the Equator by establishing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Makerere University Klaus Wachsmann Audio-Visual Archive (MAKWAA) in Kampala, Uganda, signed in April 2011. (23) Briefly, this MoU entails collaboration on archival practices, joint research practices, joint publication, knowledge sharing, and academic exchanges. Muller and the current author were invited to participate in the Second International Symposium on Ethnomusicology in Kampala. This was followed by a weeklong collaborative work session between the current author and MAKWAA archivist Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza. As a result of this exchange, the first Ugandan doctoral student, Dominic Makwa, enrolled at Stellenbosch University in 2013 as part of Stellenbosch University's African Doctoral Academy (ADA) programme, which is designed for doctoral students across Africa. (24) Much of 2011 was used to prepare for the first major digitisation projects of DOMUS, centred on the Albert Coates and Stefans Grove collections. This process of digitisation was part of the SULIS Carnegie funding, of which a portion was channelled to DOMUS. Also in this year a festival and symposium celebrating Grove's 90th birthday was held in Bloemfontein with partial sponsorship from DOMUS.
The digitisation of the Coates and Grove collections progressed apace in 2012. DOMUS's human resources still consisted of Muller as Head of DOMUS, the present author and two student assistants, the latter each working three hours per week. A visit to the home of pioneering popular Afrikaans musician, Anton Goosen in Gansbaai, resulted in the donation of his collection to DOMUS. (25) The CD featuring South African jazz musician Tete Mbambisa improvising in the Stellenbosch University Music Department's Fismer Hall, was also released. DOMUS provided sponsorship for the project, spearheaded by Jonathan Eato's Jazz in South Africa (JISA) project. (26) Fay Singer, the donor of the South African Jewish Music Centre collection in 2011, also presented a colloquium on the collection and the activities of the Centre. (27)
In 2013, the oral history book project on the Eoan opera group culminated in the launch of Eoan: Our Story by the Eoan Group Project during the Suidooster Festival in Cape Town. (28) Kaganof's film on the book project, An Inconsolable Memory, was completed a few months later and subsequently screened at a number of locations locally and internationally. (29) The film was also nominated for the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) award in Amsterdam in 2013. (30) In the same year the volume of DOMUS collections doubled overnight with the addition of the collections of David Marks of 3rd Ear Music and Ben Segal under the umbrella of the Hidden Years Music Archive (HYMA). This collection of some 900 boxes was acquired through the research and fieldwork of a doctoral student, Lizabe Lambrechts. (31) Proper storage facilities for DOMUS collections had now become critical. DOMUS was also involved in organising the 2013 Hearing Landscape Critically interdisciplinary conference hosted at the Stellenbosch University Music Department. (32) The digital collections platform (SUNDigital) containing the digitised collections of Grove and Coates, amongst others, was also launched. (33)
Reflecting on how DOMUS started out as a project grappling with the ordering and cataloguing of the Arnold van Wyk collection, it was also fitting that Muller published and launched his work on Arnold van Wyk, entitled Nagmusiek, on 2 August 2014-9 years after the establishment of DOMUS. (34) This year, 2015, marks the ten-year anniversary of DOMUS, which was started on the imperative of creating a South African archive that collects, orders, catalogues, preserves, and makes available music collections of composers, performers, musicologists, and music institutions for research. This happened in the context of a history of archival neglect and decline, clouded by political issues, a lack of commitment, and a lack of suitable infrastructure. (35) As DOMUS is in the advantageous position of being part of an established university environment with institutional support, it is currently one of the more accessible and stable repositories of its kind in South Africa and the rest of the African continent. (36)
To date, the DOMUS collections that now total some seventy collections, have served as a basis for articles in periodicals, conference papers, postgraduate studies, projects, seminars, film screenings, recordings and performances, engaging in critical debates and contributing to South African heritage. (37) These projects have also enabled the interaction and collaboration with the public and musicians from various communities and with scholars nationally and internationally. Individual studies and projects illustrate the use of existing archival materials as a point of departure, but also how scholarly studies benefit DOMUS in the way the archive becomes a home for rare materials discovered by scholars. Often, scholarly studies also benefit from scholars' access to a reputable archive that could serve as the repository for such materials. (38)
SULIS has contributed to a large extent to the development of DOMUS by providing packaging materials, cataloguing expertise, funding for conference attendances, office space, physical storage space, IT support, Carnegie Corporation funding for two large digitisation projects, the creation and maintenance of Online infrastructure for digital collections, the assistance with and hosting of the Directory of South African Music Collections, and the acquisition of research items and collections.
After a decade of huge archival growth and iterative development of intellectual projects in relation to the archive and the work of scholars aligned to the broad vision and mission of the archive, DOMUS is now poised to become formally established as a Special Collections section of the Music Library, with the intellectual projects working from and through and into DOMUS, aiming to establish themselves in an independent Institute for music, research and innovation in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. DOMUS will continue to exist, therefore, as the core component of an institute dedicated to create one of the largest, safest, technologically most advanced open access music archives in Africa, while providing networked intellectual space for research, innovation and critical thinking focused on creative music projects in an African context.
DOMUS's current development into an independent Institute with the ability to foster many different kinds of music related research on repertoires and practices representative of South Africa's musical diversity, promises to reshape not only DOMUS during the next ten years but also music research in South Africa.
Santie de Jongh (1)
(1.) Santie de Jongh is the Special Collections Librarian at the Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS), Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She serves on the RILM South Africa committee and on the Executive Committee for the South African Society for Research in Music (SASRIM). I wish to thank Stephanus Muller and his postgraduate seminar group for commenting on this paper.
(2.) Erik Chisholm was the Head of the University of Cape Town South African College of Music from 1946 to 1965 and founder of the South African section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) in 1948. See Morag Chisholm, , Life in South Africa, <http://www.erikchisholm.com/essay10.php> and John Purser, Erik Chisholm: Scottish modernist 1904-1965, Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press, 2009.
(3.) The Music Library Special Collections then consisted of 20 collections, which included the Africana and Rare Books, Olaf Andresen, Ivy Angove, Hennie Aucamp, Jan Bouws, G. G. Cillie, Albert Coates, Dirkie de Villiers, Donald Graham Historical Sound Recordings, Hans Endler, Anton Hartman, Friedrich Wilhelm Jannasch, Konservatorium, Lopez-Lambrechts, Rosa Nepgen, Michael Scott, Frits Stegmann, Walter Swanson, Arnold van Wyk, and Charles Weich collections. By that time there was already a typescript catalogue on the works of Walter Swanson, arranged according to genre, and indicating composition dates and instrumentation, but lacking any location information. See W. A. van Zyl & S. Vollgraaff, 'Catalogue of works by Walter Donald Swanson (1903-1985) in the Special Collection at the Music Library, University of Stellenbosch,' [Stellenbosch], 2001.
(4.) These methods at the time, hailed from Library of Congress (LOC) examples, from practical experience at the University of Cape Town Manuscripts and Archives section and from continuous consultation with University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University Special Collections staff. See, for example, Aaron Copland collection: Finding aid encoded by Library of Congress Music Division, 2005, <http://memory.loc.gov/service /mss/eadxmlmss/eadpdfmss/uploaded_pdf/ead_music_pdf/mu002006.pdf> and University of Cape Town Special Collections, Manuscripts and Archives: Subject guides to the manuscript collections, , <http://www .specialcollections.uct.ac.za/sc/subject-guides-manuscripts>.
(5.) Until DOMUS was created, activities in the Special Collections of the Music Library (such as the processing of the valuable collection of the bibliophile Michael Scott), were initiated and supervised by professors Reino Ottermann and Izak Grove.
(6.) See Research based on DOMUS collections, 2015, <http://libguides.sun.ac.za/content.php?pid=331516&sid=5531262>.
(7.) See Research based on DOMUS collections, 2015.
(8.) S. de Jongh, RILM SA history, 2015 <http://www.domus.ac.za/content/view/51/5/>.
(9.) See <www.domus.ac.za>.
(10.) Meetings were held with the Eoan Board on 15 January 2007 and with the community on 9 November 2008. The contract was signed on 28 January 2008.
(11.) Santie de Jongh, Albert Coates Collection Finding Aid, 2007 <http://www.domus.ac.za/images /PDV2%20ALBERT%20COATES%20VERSAMELING%20finFIN.pdf>.
(12.) Obelisk Music (1991-2001) focussed on the performance and publishing of South African composers' works. The Stellenbosch University Music Library assisted with obtaining the Obelisk Music collection. See <http://www.domus.ac.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=37>.
(13.) See <http://www.domus.ac.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=35>.
(14.) M. S. de Jongh, 'A National Electronic Database of Special Music Collections in South Africa' (Master's thesis, Stellenbosch University, 2009) <http://scholar.sun.ac.za/handle/10019.1/2370>. The database of music collections was updated and re-launched on Libguides as a Directory of South African Music Collections at the beginning of 2014. It is accessible via <http://libguides.sun.ac.za/SAMusicCollections> and <http://www .domus.ac.za/content/view/46/5/>.
(15.) Doctoral student Marc Rontsch is currently writing a biography on James whilst digitising the James manuscripts. See <http://digital.library.sun.ac.za/handle/10019.2/2956>.
(16.) The film also documents Rastafarian Nyabinghi chanting and drumming from this particular community. See <http://www.domus.ac.za/content/view/71/5/#Nyabinghi>.
(17.) At this symposium Aryan Kaganof donated sound cassettes with previously unpublished interviews with musician Johnny Dyani (1945-1987) of the Blue Notes to DOMUS. See <http://www.domus.ac.za/content /view/57/5/>.
(18.) In conjunction with these events a composers' panel was set up with Jonathan Eato, Zim Ngqawana, Tete Mbambisa, Louis Moholo, and a performance was held by pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar. See Christopher Ballantine, 'Looking Back, Looking Ahead: The State of our Discipline. SAMUS, 32:113-133.
(19.) See the Stellenbosch University Music Library guide at <http://libguides.sun.ac.za/music> and the referencing part of the 'How do I find, access and use information effectively' guide at <http://libguides.sun.ac.za /how_do_I_do_my_assignment>.
(20.) Tete Mbambisa, Black Heroes, Stellenbosh: JISA, cp 2012.
(21.) Dmitri Voudouris, Kodering: For amplified piano, 2011.
(22.) The Boeremusiekgilde photographs, obtained with partial funding from DOMUS, are connected to Willemien Froneman's study on boeremusiek.
(23.) See <http://www.domus.ac.za/content/view/87/5/>.
(24.) Makwa's thesis is entitled, 'Archiving Oral Materials: A Critical Ethnography of Preservation Practices among the Bagisu of Uganda'.
(25.) Anton Goosen donates collection to SU, 2012, <http://blogs.sun.ac.za/news/2012/06/04/anton-goosendonates- collection-to-su/>.
(26.) See <http://ev2.co.uk/jisa/start.html>.
(27.) This collection was acquired through the involvement of then Master's student, Annemie Stimie. See Annemie Stimie, 'Cosmopolitanism in Early Afrikaans Music Historiography, 1910-1948' (Master's thesis, Stellenbosch University, 2010) <http://scholar.sun.ac.za/handle/10019.1/5361>. See also South African Jewish Music Centre Collection, 2012, <http://www.domus.ac.za/content/view/83/5/>.
(28.) Eoan Group Project. Eoan: Our story, Johannesburg: Fourthwall, 2013.
(29.) See <http://kaganof.com/kagablog/Ps-inconsolablermemory>.
(30.) See <http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspxPID-1040> and <https://www.idfa.nl /industry/tags/project.aspx?id=F982394A-ADA3-469E-A381-7D4BD52F74B7>.
(31.) Lambrechts, 2012.
(32.) This was the second conference in a series of three at the Universities of Oxford, Harvard and Stellenbosch. See <http://musiclandscapeconference.wordpress.com/>.
(33.) See <http://digital.lib.sun.ac.za/> and <http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspxPID1100>.
(34.) Nagmusiek won the 2015 University of Johannesburg Debut Prize for an Afrikaans novel. See <http://bookslive.co.za/blog/2015/05/13/2015-uj-pryse-soms-is-die-waarheid-oor-n-lewe-meer-storie-as-feit/>.
(35.) De Jongh, 2009.
(36.) Occasionally, South African collections are acquired by institutions outside the continent. A well-known example is that of writer J.M. Coetzee, which is held at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas. See <http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/press/releases/2011/coetzee.html>. See also Chris van Rhyn, 'Towards a Mapping of the Marginal: Readings of Art Songs by Nigerian, Ghanaian, Egyptian and South African Composers' (Doctoral dissertation. Stellenbosch University, 2013) <http://scholar.sun.ac.za/handle/10019.1/85813>.
(37.) Examples include Willemien Froneman's study on Boeremusiek (Nico Carstens collection), the South African Jewish Music Centre collection, donated by Fay Singer (a Master's study by Annemie Stimie), the Anton Goosen collection (through PhD student Etienne Viviers), the collections of David Marks and Ben Segal under the umbrella Hidden Years Music Archive (HYMA) (PhD study by Lizabe Lambrechts) and the Taliep Petersen collection (PhD study by Paula Fourie). See Research based on DOMUS collections, 2015. See the article in this issue by Lizabe Lambrechts on the Ben Segal Archive at Stellenbosch University.
(38.) See 'Projects' and 'News archive' at <www.domus.ac.za>.
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|Title Annotation:||Documentation Center for Music at Stellenbosch University, South Africa|
|Author:||de Jongh, Santie|
|Publication:||Fontes Artis Musicae|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2015|
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