Kalanga woso dance receives new attention

Updated: September 27, 2012

Matjinge Primary School in Matabeleland South was crowned the national winner of the Jikinya Primary Schools Dance festival in November 2011, introducing the traditional woso dance from Plumtree.  Now the dance is spreading and recently Amakhosi hosted an amabhiza workshop for teachers.

The Amabhiza dance is actually called “woso” in Kalanga and should be appropriately named, renowned traditionalist, Pathisa Nyathi, says.  Author of Zimbabwean Traditional Dances, Nyathi said it was important to know the dances and their origin. “I feel it is not fair for the dance to be popularised in SiNdebele while its real name is woso in Kalanga. It is a Kalanga dance and should be popularised in the language,” said Nyathi.

Plumtree dance makes waves in country

by Bongani Ndlovu, reprinted from the Chronicle.

AMABHIZA dance from Plumtree has made waves in the country after it was introduced to the Jikinya Dance Festival last year by Matjinge Primary School from Bulilima district of Matabeleland South province.

Matjinge Primary School pupils perform at the launch of Matabeleland South Province Culture Week at Chief Nyangazonke homestead in Matobo District

This shows that culture can be spread through art competitions as this year the main dance of the Jikinya dance competition for primary is the amabhiza dance.

The dance constitutes 70 percent of the marks and all dance groups are to do the dance with another traditional dance piece.

Matjinge Primary School has been on a national tour, which began last week on Saturday.

The school performed their dance at the national launch of Culture Week held at Bindura University of Technology in Mashonaland Central.

Thereafter their tour took them to Harare, then Midlands in Shurugwi, on Wednesday they were in Bulawayo and on Thursday they wrapped up their tour in Kezi at Chief Nyangazonke’s homestead, where the Matabeleland South provincial launch of Culture Week launch was held.

The man behind the school, Lucious Ncube, has a passion for traditional dance. Ncube said there was no secret to his success because there was no substitute for practice as this was the only way to perfect the amabhiza dance.

He said the problem that people had was they were consulting the wrong people to teach them the dances.

“These contemporary cultural groups teach people the wrong things when it comes to our dances. They have diluted the dances because they have modernised them and then we do not know the correct dances. We should shun them and consult the elders to do these dances,” said Ncube.

He said before they went for the Jikinya Dance Festival they went into a two-week camp with Inqama yophondo to perfect their dance.

“These elderly people are from the Ematojeni area of Matobo and they taught us the correct way to do the amabhiza dance. We realised that it was better to use their expertise to come up with a unique dance,” said Ncube.

He said amabhiza was a complicated dance that could not be taught in a day hence the need for constant practice.

“This dance is not like Macheso’s Zora Butter, it is complicated and that is why people take long to catch on. There are things like the coordination of the three drums and the use of the mandobo to control the dancer,” said Ncube.

He said the dance was called amabhiza because the dancer would be trying to emulate the movements of a horse.

“The male dancers will use horse tail hairs which are called itshoba that they will throw about and dance in step while the women clap and sing while some play the drums. The drums harmonise  to create the beat,” said Ncube.

He said the attire for the dance comprised black and white and his passion for perfection made him convince his headmaster to source the school’s attire from South Africa.

“The attire is black and white, no other colour. When you see red those colours are for the traditional healers, called izangoma or amantshomani. The way I pay attention to detail made me look for the costumes that these pupils are wearing from South Africa,” said Ncube.

He said children should be taught the traditional dances from a young age so that by the time they are mature they are perfect.

“Teach them as young as when in Early Childhood Education. We have one pupil who was in grade three last year and he has been a revelation, think of him when he gets to Grade Seven,” said Ncube.

He said his passion for art has pushed him to create a group called Matjinge Stars, which has entered the Chibuku Road to Fame finals in Gwanda next month.

“We want to win that prize money and we are going to Gwanda to win. I have passion for traditional dances to be revived so that we can teach them to our children,” said Ncube.




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