Zimbabwe: Dedza wins Chibuku Neshamwari provincial dance festival

Senior Arts Journalist

Mufakose-based nyau dance group ‘Dedza’ were crowned winners from Harare at the provincial Chibuku Neshamwari dance festival held at Makuluwani bar over the weekend.

The 15-member group clinched $2,500 and a spot to represent Harare in the final scheduled for Gweru on August 4.

Second place went to the Mukabira Nyau group and Gasani Moto was crowned third.

In an interview with The Herald Arts, Dedza band secretary Grace Beni said they were thrilled to win the grand prize and are now gearing up for the final.

She said that the money they won will be used to buy equipment which will also be used in the final.

“We are so excited to have won this competition,” Beni said. “Dancing is an art and now, especially nyau dance, people should not despise it because it can sustain them.

“We will buy uniforms and equipment such as drums and rattles that we will use in the final. We hope to win the prize again. It was a tough competition, but we are happy to have succeeded.”

Beni said dancing was their way of life and society finally accepted them.

“The days when people laughed at being afraid of nyau culture are over,” she said. “For us, it’s more like a lifestyle and we decided to take it seriously. In fact, we are a group of 40 people, but unfortunately only 15 members participated due to limited resources.”

Beni said his dream was to participate in an international platform.

“We want to represent Zimbabwe and we can certainly do that,” she said. “We urge businesses to help and support local dancers, even the relevant arts authorities should not shun us as they sometimes focus on music and TV as the only art form.”

Beni said the group would take a week off before starting to prepare for the final.

Delta Corporation’s general manager of general affairs, Patricia Murambinda, whose organization is organizing the dance competition, said that “the Chibuku Neshamwari Dance Festival will organize dance competitions, where participants from all 10 provinces of Zimbabwe will perform and s will face.

The first three winning groups will receive a cash prize.

“It will then culminate in a national final where the winners from all 10 provinces will compete to be crowned the overall winners.”

Murambinda said the festival has become important in promoting and ensuring that traditional dances, which are one of the local crucial intangible cultural heritages, are celebrated.

“Dance and music have played an important role in how people interact, celebrate and tell about our past,” she said. “To this end, the Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival has kept alive the many traditional dances that define the country and its people.”

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