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Mampi the Queen Diva: Articulating Feminism in Zambia’s Fast Music

Tembo, Mathew (2019) Mampi the Queen Diva: Articulating Feminism in Zambia’s Fast Music. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Drawing on fieldwork and published literature on Zambia’s popular music and feminism, I analyze how Zambia’s fast music has provided spaces in which Zambian women musicians articulate feminism as they contest and challenge patriarchal hegemony. Zambia’s fast music is produced quickly, for profit, and consumed by a mass audience. Also colloquially known as Zed Beats, fast music blends indigenous Zambian rhythms with R&B, reggae, rap, Jamaican dancehall, hip-hop, and other popular music genres. Zambia’s fast music is sung in local languages, mostly urban vernaculars Bemba, Nyanja, and English, and celebrates the pleasures of the body.
This thesis consists of three main sections. In the first section, I introduce Zambia’s fast music. The second section focuses on the emergence of feminist movements of the 1990s in Zambia. The third section explores female musicians’ participation in Zambia’s popular music industry since the introduction of fast music.
I posit that the democratization of Zambia’s national politics in the 1990s coupled with the liberalization of Zambia’s economy that followed the change of government facilitated the emergence of Zambia’s fast music. The democratization of national politics led to the mushrooming of feminist organizations which campaigned for women’s rights. The feminist movements of the 1990s inspired female musicians including Mirriam Mukupe (a.k.a. “Mampi, the Queen Diva”) to start using music as a platform for articulating a feministic agenda. Since the 1990s, when fast music debuted on Zambia’s music scene, female musicians have participated more in the music industry. An analysis of one of Mirriam Mukupe’s most popular songs “Why” exemplifies the articulation of feminism in Zambia’s fast music.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tembo, Mathewmat238@pitt.edumat238
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWeintraub, Andrewanwein@pitt.eduanwein
Committee MemberHeller, Michaelmichael.heller@pitt.edumichael.heller
Committee MemberAyyagari, Shalinisayyagari@pitt.edusayyagari
Date: 19 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 August 2018
Approval Date: 19 June 2019
Submission Date: 13 June 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 92
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fast Music, Feminism, Zambia, African Popular Music
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2019 18:37
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2019 18:37


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