Tradition Continues To Grace Zimbabwe

There a multiple reasons for dancing and each particular dance seems to tell a story. Each movement, each position accompanied with the beat of a drum and the voices of the performers tell you something that is beautiful. I used to “bust a move” back in the day and I could give Kevin Bacon a run for his money in Footloose. But years crept up on me and I lost the magic. I had the pleasure of seeing tradition through passionate dancing in Murehwa.

Chibuku partnered with the Zimbabwe National Traditional Dance Association and the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe to give the country the Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival. A nationwide competition that gives teams the opportunity to perform a traditional dance and to be crowned as provincial champs. By being the provincial champs, they go to the national finals for the opportunity to be crowned the Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival 2017 Champions plus $7 000. The competition dates back to 50 years ago and since then, it has grown to the spectacle it is today.

Murehwa hosted the Mast East provincial finals. An hour drive out of Harare, the journey was a scenic pleasure. The hills were a climber’s haven as there were a lot of rock faces to climb. A hiker’s paradise if you will, the road was filled with pockets of serenity, paths and rocks for the outdoor addict to be at bliss when they are in the area. Zimbabwe is beautiful!

Entrance is free at all Chibuku events so there was a good turnout at the venue. The performances were amazing and I loved every moment of the provincial finals. The dances were outstanding, perfectly choreographed and the talent was out of this world. What stuck out for me was how there is a crazy pot of talent in Zimbabwe and Chibuku has provided the platform for the talent to develop and to showcase their craft.

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Teams dressed in appropriate attire for the specific dance they were performing. And each dance has a relevance or a message as these dances were performed generations ago. Passed down from generation to generation, I did not see the performances as that of a competition, I saw them as culture and tradition being spoken. Living in a time of westernisation, technology and social media, there are people who practice their tradition and pass on what their elders taught them.

The Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival runs until July with the national finals being held in Bulawayo and I am excited to see more of what Zimbabwe has to offer. The biggest traditional dance festival in Zimbabwe is refreshing, artistic and the most beautiful thing you will see. Backed with years of tradition, each step, each beat of the drum, each note that is sung transcends time. Each performance has a historic connection to it with the reality being that particular step, beat or note was done over 200 years ago. Each performance is my connection to my history in a way no book can ever have. I saw tradition and culture.

There are going to be finals in each province building up to the national finals in July. I suggest you go to one and watch. There is talent out there and programs like African Dance and Wellness which strive to keep Zimbabwe’s culture and tradition alive through dance. For more information about the Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival, check out Chibuku’s Facebook page.

I look forward to knowing more about Zimbabwe’s tradition.

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