SOAS University of London

Richard Gray

I would sum up my studies here so far as a white-knuckle intellectual adventure. It has opened doors not only in my mind, but in real life, especially in terms of people I have met.

My academic studies have happened back to front: in the 1970s I did fieldwork––as a teacher and oral historian of Mozambican music; now, late in life, I have found an academic course, the MA Music in Development, covering similar activities. From an early age I have been obsessed with the idea of social justice. It was this which took me to Mozambique, at a time when the country was celebrating independence and setting out to build socialism. I returned in 1990, during the civil war era, as researcher on a TV film about Malangatana Ngwenya for a BBC Arena series featuring artists who have preferred life in their war-torn homelands to exile. I plan another return linked with my MA dissertation, in partnership with Mozambican colleagues. Globalisation is an important factor in the development of today’s Mozambique, so it will be an opportunity to observe its effects. I also look forward to the day when a Mozambican tutor comes to work in the music department at SOAS. I would sum up my studies here so far as a white-knuckle intellectual adventure. It has opened doors not only in my mind, but in real life, especially in terms of people I have met.