Mthabisi Tshuma, Online Correspondent
ARTISTE Dickens Sipho Mathe aka Vho-Mathe is a man on a mission – he wants to make Tshivenda culture popular.
Vho-Mathe is the brains behind Zezani Culture Club, a Tshivenda traditional dance group formed in 2011. The group is composed of young secondary students who perform Malende and Tshigombela dances.
Vho-Mathe, who has groomed successful artistes like Bhadilah, Endurance Mudau, Ndabezinhle Sibanda aka Ndatsh, Bulawayo socialite Nozibelo Maphosa, Shyleen Mudau and Cynthia Siziba, said his passion dates back to year 2000.
“I started being a drummer in 2000 at Umzingwane Drama Club which was led by patron Marambo, Kukhanyekwenkosi Mkandla aka Ganjah, Future Mukiwa just to mention a few. In 2011 I founded the Zezani Culture Club, a milestone achievement for me as a culture fanatic.
“After this I got greatly exposed to the arts industry where we would curtain raise for groups like Siyaya arts and Iyasa. In Gwanda town Zalabantu performing arts led by Ganjah will also give me a chance to do the drumming,” said Vho-Mathe.
Vho-Mathe said the pride he has for the Tshivenda culture is driven by its uniqueness, societal behaviour, dress code, traditional dances and cultural artifacts.
“In short I am a Tshivenda cultural enthusiast, very passionate about Tshivenda culture and I am also a Language Qualified Teacher under the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
Vho Mathe said he has learnt a lot from renowned arts and culture personalities who he has worked.
“I have met legends such as Ngqindi, Phathisa Nyathi, Magwaza, Clive Chigubu among others. I have also enjoyed cultural exchanges with other groups.
“I am inspired by Desire Moyo of Victory Siyanqoba of whom I am thankful to as he is my mentor who stimulated me to be an artiste when I was at Manama High,” he said.
Vho-Mathe said over the years he has faced ups and downs in his career but has stood firm.
“Challenges are here and there in life, but winners never quit as cowards only do. Over the years as artistes we have faced challenges from transport and finance to attend some of these cultural events outside our district.
“The other challenge is the Covid-19 pandemic which has made it impossible for us to attend shows, we have missed a lot of cultural shows recently due to that,” said Vho-Mathe.
Vho Mathe deeply feels the need to introduce performing arts in the curriculum.
“It’s high time for schools in Beitbridge to introduce performing arts in their curriculum because most kids have shown competence there, most pupils are not academically gifted.
“I feel performing arts should be introduced in secondary schools in Beitbridge and Tshivenda traditional dance to be taken seriously in schools,” he said.
Vho-Mathe said he is currently working on a project that seeks to get youths off the streets.
“I am working with Bhadillah, a musician based in Beitbridge currently on a dance project for Beitbridge youths.
“This project is sponsored by August Grills restaurant. The idea behind is to identify talent during this lockdown who will then be part of a zonal dance academy. The idea behind is also to keep these youths occupied and away from drugs and other distractions. So far we have received entries which are being voted in by the Bhadillah Facebook page,” said Vho-Mathe. – @mthabisi_mthire