Ashrudeen Waggie


Ashrudeen Waggie has worked part time as an administrative officer at the Hidden Years Music Archive Project at Stellenbosch University. He also served part time as a tutor at the History Department. 

He obtained his BA (Humanities), Hons (History), MA (History) (cum laude) degrees and Post Graduate Certificate in Education (History and English Studies) at Stellenbosch University. He is currently doing an interdisciplinary PhD at both the History Department and the Institute for Research, Innovation and Music. 


His research builds on his MA thesis that looks at the tours of African American musicians touring South Africa during the Cultural Boycott. He investigated four musicians who toured the country during the period 1968-1983, namely Percy Sledge (1970, 1972), Brook Benton (1971, 1980, 1982), Jimmy Smith (1978, 1982) and Isaac Hayes (1978). This research explored possible reasons why these four African American musicians toured South Africa during the cultural boycott discussing the supporting musicians that accompanied them, the venues they performed at and the companies that promoted them. While these tours are discussed in detail, this research uncovered more than 65 tours that also deserve attention. 

His Phd study seeks to chart these unwritten tours as well as discuss the South African Musicians that accompanied them. Moreover, this dissertation will also expand on this discourse by exploring cross-cultural exchanges between South African and African American cultures, not as a one-directional flow, but as multi-dimensional exchanges. It subsequently, looks at visible exchanges of fashion, words, music and performance styles during these tours, which transcends rigid classifications of nationhood, identity and genre classification. This notion questions the topic of cultural appropriation as these shared racial struggles enables and engender structures of feelings and performance of identity beyond the nation-state. 

Additionally, it also explores popularity or the notion of “popular” as it appears to have played a significant role in the recurring tours of African American musicians along with the supporting musicians that joined them on the stage. Due to the apartheid government’s legislation and restrictions, certain cultural products were allowed to flourish that supported the apartheid’s ideologies, while everything else was prone to be censored, restricted or banned. To circumvent the apartheid government’s sanctions an “unofficial” popular music scene formed in the country. This dissertation attempts to chart this unofficial popular historiography by analysing the tours of African American musicians.