Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
EXPERIENCE and a well-choreographed performance saw Hwange-based Pezhuba Pachena shrug off the challenge from nine other traditional dance groups to win for the fourth time, the ticket to represent Matabeleland North in the national finals of the Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival competition.
It was a perfect present for the group that is celebrating 10 years since its formation in 2012.
Ten groups performed different dances at the provincial finals held on Saturday at Chinotimba Old Bar in Victoria Falls.
Pezhuba Pachena performed its unique insumbale, which is a rain-making ritual Nambya dance. The only all-female group, Amakhosikazi performed isitshikitsha, a Ndebele dance, and finished second while an imbube group, Imvimbi came out third after performing umzansi dance, which is performed during Zulu celebrations.
Other groups that participated included Inkume Arts which also performed umzansi; Twayaumhone of Victoria Falls which did makishi, a lubale dance while Vulindlela performed amabhiza. Vuka Mthwakazi performed indlamu and African Traditional Vibes did the mbira dance.
Victoria Falls Nyau did the Zambian gulewamtutu dance while Gulewamtutu of Hwange did the Zambia nyau dance. Each group was given 10 minutes on the stage.
For their efforts, the top three groups got prize monies while all the groups that performed also got a token of appreciation for participating.
What was notable after the competition was the lack of appreciation of the selected dances by most of the groups as some did not have appropriate props and attire that go with the dances.
Speaking after the competition, Pezhuba Pachena director Lucky Munzabwa said the group will continue from where it left in 2019 when it represented the province at the national finals and finished fourth.
“What’s important for us is that we’re celebrating 10 years this year and winning this is a bonus.
“We’ve won at the provincial level three times before and I think experience and choreography, as well as the fact that our dance is unique, made us win,” said Munzambwa.
Amakhosikazi leader Sibonginkosi Tshabalala said they expected a better than position two. She said their aim was to preserve the Ndebele culture, hence their performance of isitshikitsha.
For Imvimbi, this was their second time participating in the provincial competition. The last time, they made the second position after performing muchongoyo. The group’s leader Blessed Chakomoka said their third place was a dedication to a group member, Andile Javas Hadebe who died last week after allegedly committing suicide by hanging. A moment of silence for him was observed during the announcement of the results.
National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Matabeleland North provincial officer Eunice Ndlovu called upon everyone in the province to rally behind the provincial representatives.
“They should continue rehearsing and we’ll make sure they work closely with the adjudicators so that they’re apprised of where they need to correct or add.
“We also appeal to veterans in the arts industry and mentors to assist the group. Other groups should also help them so that they do the province proud,” Ndlovu said.
Matabeleland North is the fifth province to have hosted its competition following Harare, Masvingo, Mashonaland East, and Matabeleland South.
The winner at the national final will pocket a whopping US$15 000 with second place getting US$12 000 and third place getting US$5 000.
The date and venue for the national final are yet to be unveiled. – @ncubeleon