Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Correspondent
Arts group, Sailor’s Hope Theatre which hails from Sailor’s Hope Village in Bubi district was on the spotlight at the Bulawayo Arts Festival (Baf) last week where it gave life to traditional dances.
The performance was the toast of the day at the Youth and Dance Expo which was held at the Amphitheatre last Friday. Dances that were showcased included Isitshikitsha, Amabhiza, Amantshomane and Setapa.
A brainchild of veteran arts administrator, Sihlangu Dlodlo who is also a founding member of Amakhosi Theatre, Sailor’s Hope Theatre was formed early this year and has 30 members whose ages range between nine and 16. Dlodlo, one of the prodigious talents that Cont Mhlanga regards as the best to ever grace the cultural centre is a renowned playwright whose many breakthrough strategies led to Amakhosi’s emergence as a powerhouse on the arts scene in the 90s.
Recounting their Baf experience, Dlodlo said: “This was our first production with a repertoire of traditional dances and songs. Being at Baf was big for the kids as the festival was eye-opening and educational.”
He said a cast of 20 presented a 15-minute traditional dance performance that changed the game as doors began to open afterwards.
“Through the Baf performance, our doors have begun opening as we got a call from the Intwasa Festival organisers who want us to be part of their event. So if all goes according to plan, we’ll be performing a new production at Intwasa festival,” said an elated Dlodlo.
Dlodlo said the group was formed in January as a way of promoting arts in the rural areas from grass-roots level.
“The group that’s from Sailor’s Hope Village in Ward 14, Bubi District was formed in January this year,” he said.
“I formed the group after the realisation that there were no recreational activities and facilities for children at the village.
“After resigning from Innscor Africa, I relocated to my village home at Sailor’s Hope Village and started focusing on unearthing raw talent.”
He said the arts group is on the right path as it is receiving support from arts organisations in Bulawayo in a move that has seen the youngsters undergo training to fine-tune their art skills.
“We’ve received tremendous support from established artistes and arts organisations like Umkhathi Theatre, Iyasa and Drums of Peace who’ve held workshops and imparted different skills to the children. Most of these workshops were held at the village.
“We’ve also taken the children to Thabiso Youth Club for drumming lessons with Lewis Ndlovu of Drums of Peace, Amakhosi Cultural Centre for a dance workshop with Matesu Dube. Recently, we were at Njube Salukazi Centre for workshops with Umkhathi Theatre artistes. The rest of the workshops have been conducted by Happison Ncube and Lorin Sibanda of Umkhathi at the village,” said Dlodlo. [email protected]_mthire