The rise of Makokoba’s finest, Asante Mo
Tafadzwa Chibukwa, Chronicle Reporter
A dance group made up of men who were born and grew up in Makokoba suburb in Bulawayo says it is working hard to make a name for itself in the arts and culture sector.
Aaron Chikondawanga (30), Bekithemba Phiri (36) and Newman Gondwe (28) formed a dance group called Asante Mo in 2019.
Inspired by the help and support that they received from the moment they started pursuing the arts, the trio decided to name the dance group Asante-Mo, which in Swahili means thank you.
One of the members, Newman Gondwe retraced their childhood days in Makokoba, highlighting how fond they were of each other from an early age.
“We grew up in Makokoba and were friends from a tender age. We realised that our bodies were flexible and we had a common interest in the arts and entertainment sector so we joined the youth centre for programmes that they offered and learnt a lot there.
“We were always looking forward to making it big in the industry and we eventually found ourselves spending more of our time learning dancing,” said Gondwe.
He said dancing at the youth centre in Makokoba suburb gave them exposure and also taught them a lot about how to express themselves through art.
Gondwe said they later enrolled at the Inkululeko Yabatsha School of Arts (Iyasa) in Entumbane suburb in 2003. They served different years at the arts school performing individually. Phiri went to the school for 14 years while Gondwe and Chikondawanga went there for eight and six years respectively.
“Our careers have always been very vibrant. We’ve toured countries like Germany, Austria, Japan, Swaziland, Botswana, South Africa and Malawi among others,” said Gondwe.
He said popular musician, Nkwali approached them and suggested that they work together and form a dance group, and that was when they formed their group in 2019.
Now, the trio is giving back to the community by working at the Mzilikazi Youth Centre where they are assisting the youths to nurture their arts talents.
Chikondawanga said they do not only specialise in dancing as they are also into singing and acting.
He said the group has since ventured into Afro-tech music.
“Although we are a dance group, we are also into music and we are working on releasing an album soon,” said Chikondawanga.
Things seem to be looking up for them as they performed in South Africa recently. – @Sagepapie14