The Interdisciplinary Forum for Popular Music – ifPOP– is the working title of a project that explores music in popular cultures in Southern Africa. It is a platform where academic and public domains meet; it’s a provocation for conversation and artistic response.

The ‘if’ of ifPOP puts a question mark next to the notion of the “popular”: not all the music the project takes in its purview may be populist, commercialised, or mainstream. Yet “pop” captures the ethos of a vernacular – that which develops independent of institutions and formal training – and provides a starting point to unravel the histories and debates for which “popular” serves as a placeholder.

ifPOP’s intellectual project is to develop critical frameworks from an African context to trace the creative strategies and social dynamics of popular musics in South Africa. Through a series of public talks, symposia, performances, and conversations, it interrogates the ways that the notion of the popular finds expression and is challenged in Africa.


Why a Forum? 

A forum is a platform for debate and exchange, and captures the public dimension of the project.

ifPOP embraces a spirit of collaboration, notably between

  • different disciplines
  • academic and the public domains, bringing together scholars, performers, artists, collectors, recording studios, producers, and music journalists.
  • popular music and the archive. While the idea of popular music is often connected with current music (current hits, the latest releases), it also has a historical aspect. DOMUS houses one of the most extensive archives of popular music, the Hidden Years Music Archive, as well as important collections such as the Kaganof, Anton Goosen, Nico Carstens collections. IfPop not only engages with these archives, but also creates and contributes an archive of contemporary South African practices.


Jazz Conversation: Thandi Ntuli

31 January 2019  |  Fismer Hall, Konservatorium (Stellenbosch University) A conversation about genre bending compositions, spiritual reflexivity and socially conscious art. In this conversation, the



Jazz Conversation: Skyjack

1 November 2018  |  Gallery University Stellenbosch (GUS) This conversation with Skyjack unravelled the dynamics ensemble work, particularly capturing the interplay between the individual and



Jazz Conversation: Nduduzo Makhathini

23 August 2018 | Fismer Hall, Konservatorium (Stellenbosch University) A performance and talk on jazz as a collective process, spirituality and the legacy of Bheki



Jazz Conversation: Carlo Mombelli

26 July 2018 | Gallery University Stellenbosch (GUS) Carlo Mombelli speaks about his creative process, about jazz learning inside/outside institutions, and teaching as a way



Jazz Conversation: Kyle Shepherd

19 September 2017 | Gallery University Stellenbosch (GUS) A performance and dialogue about jazz practice as research, about developing an own artistic voice and two



Aidan Erasmus colloquium

An Alternative Genealogy: The Genuines and Afrikaans Punk 17 October 2017 | Gallery University Stellenbosch (GUS) Aidan Erasmus is a doctoral fellow in History at



On Record book launch


read more

© 2023 Africa Open Institute. All rights reserved.
Terms of use
Art Direction Pixel and Digit