|Schools to battle it out in the Jikinya Dance Festival|
|Sunday, 30 June 2013 10:48|
Bekezela Tshuma Sunday Leisure Reporter
THIS year’s Jikinya Dance Festival common dance is the “Jerusarema Mbende” that is set to take over from the last two years’ “Amabhiza” dance and many traditional dance
lovers are sure to have a time of their lives as primary schools are set to battle for honours in the festival’s traditional dance category.
The Jikinya Dance Festival is aimed at encouraging children to appreciate and perform Zimbabwean traditional dances as well as promote and preserve Zimbabwe’s rich cultural heritage which is slowly being swallowed by Western cultures.
The event was introduced by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe two years ago, where a specific dance was selected as a festival piece that runs for two years and this festival will be held at a date yet to be advised.
The NACZ Communications and marketing officer, Cathrine Mthombeni, confirmed that this year’s dance would be the “Jerusalema Mbende” dance adding that many should brace for the event.
“The Jikinya Dance Festival showcases various traditional dances by primary school pupils from around the country. Jikinya is not a type of dance as with Mhande, Dinhe and Isitshikitsha but is any dance performed as an expression of happiness with lots of drumming, dancing and singing. So this year’s dance is the Mbende and so practising the dance is a measure of safeguarding it for posterity,” she said.
Jerusarema Mbende is a dance that was proclaimed a masterpiece of oral and intangible cultural heritage of humanity by Unesco and its home is the Murewa Culture Centre.
The ancient fertility dance was called Dembe/Mbende, a Shona word for “mole” which signified fertility hence the dance became very popular with the locals.
“The dance is compulsory to all performing groups although they also showcase a dance of their own choice. The compulsory dance was introduced so that all participating children, despite their regions, can also learn, appreciate and perform dances that are not only within their locality thus promoting cultural diversity among the primary schoolchildren, who are the leaders of tomorrow”, Mthombeni indicated.
Not only does the pupil benefit from the common dance but also the downstream industries that manufacture the props and costumes that are used within the dance such as drums, rattles and feather headgears.
Moreover, Mthombeni articulated that some historical writers such as Pathisa Nyathi are researching and documenting the dances for future references and as it stands, Nyathi has produced a book on Woso, Jerusarema Mbende and Culture.
A dance called “Amabhiza” which is said to have originated from eMaphaneni in Matobo District in Matabeleland South, was the common dance for the last two years and when the event is held this year, Mbende dance will take over and be the common one for the next two years.
Mthombeni said other stakeholders in the arts industry are also benefiting from organising workshops and producing compact disks on the common dances in Zimbabwe.