In this article, I use a jazz structure (made up of a chorus, solo, and coda) to explore both the versions of black modernity advanced in South African jazz discourse and the particular ways in which these are manifest in the journalism of Todd Matshikiza. I set various global flows of the imaginary alongside their local appropriation and manipulation to show how South African writers made use of the jazz episteme to construct tactical (if evanescent) alternatives to the ponderous singularities and teleology of apartheid ideology. In doing so, I seek to describe ways in which jazz generated a parallel textuality in which local versions of freedom and social hope could be imagined and expressed.
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