Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
The Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards this year are about discovering hidden talent and in the Outstanding Female dancer category, there are three gifted ladies who will battle it out.
The three Juliet “Majulie” Dube (Ezimnyama Dance Ensemble), Praise Ncube (Khaya Arts) and Thandeka Mabhena (Sungura Masters) are stars in their own right.
Majulie who won the award last year and is the front runner to bag it this year said she was optimistic she would scoop the award once again.
“I’ve hope that I’ll win, in fact I’ll win the award this year as I did last year. This is because I’ve been dancing from a tender age and now know how to work the stage,” said Majulie.
She said she has been with Ezimnyama for the past nine years and was still going strong.
“Patie from Ezimnyama approached me and asked if I was interested in joining the group in 2009. That’s when my journey with the group started.
“It’s been good with its ups and downs, but the crowning moments are these when we’re nominated for awards to recognise our efforts.”
From performing with Ezimnyama, Majulie says she is able to sustain herself, her five-year-old daughter and her parents.
For Praise on the other hand, this is her first nomination after seven years of performing with Khaya Arts. Mancane, as Praise is known said it has been a long and difficult journey that has seen her facing many challenges.
“At first, my parents didn’t understand what I was doing, especially my grandmother. They were against me performing particularly when they heard that I have to do so in sports bars.
“But slowly, they are accepting and with this nomination, it helps show them that I’m doing something that’s good,” said Praise.
She said she was very happy to have been nominated and was confident she would bag the award.
“Dancing isn’t a hobby for me, it’s a job. It’s all I do to support myself and with the nomination, I know I’ll win the award. I’m good at what I do.
“Dancing is in my blood and I was born to perform and entertain people. When I’m on stage I feel at peace and joyful.”
Thandeka who has been with Sungura Masters since 2010 was described as a great dancer by the director of the group Masotsha Ndlovu.
“Thandeka is a dancer like no other that I’ve worked with. When it comes to getting down to business on stage, she’s a hard worker. She has great stage presence and even some male dancers are intimidated by her when she takes to the stage,” said Ndlovu.
Joining the group in 2010, Thandeka said she turns into another being when she is on stage.
“I’m a pleasant person when I’m off stage, but when I’m on I turn into a different being. I don’t want to play around because it’s serious business to entertain people.
“My group members say that I become a harsh person,” said Thandeka.
She said being nominated boosted her morale as a dancer.
“I always used to doubt my dancing abilities. So when I was nominated, I was surprised at first and then happy because it made me realise that I’m good at what I’ll be doing.
“I now know that I’m worthy to be one of the best dancers in the city and this is a stepping stone to conquer the country.”