Musical Instruments of South Africa

© Dr Peter Magubane
A Ndebele man playing a traditional instrument in South Africa.

Along with South Africa’s rich cultural heritage, music has always been an inherent part of the country’s society. South African music dates back to the 17th century, when indigenous people and imported slaves adapted Western musical instruments.

SouthAfrica.co.za takes you on a journey through the country’s unique musical heritage - from the Khoi people’s ramkie guitar to the Xhosa tribe’s Uhadi. Some of South Africa’s oldest instruments are now iconic staples in South African music, such as the marimba.

By Carla Lottering

Ramkie Guitar

The Ramkie guitar, also known as the ‘blik kitaar’, is an iconic, indigenous instrument pioneered by the Khoikhoi people during the 18th century....more

The Marimba

The jubilant expression of the marimba is a popular sound heard amongst South Africans. Street performers hit the marimba enthusiastically as tourists pass by; choirs make use of the instrument when indigenous African songs are sung....more