Mutare dance group wins Chibuku Neshamwari final

the herald

Arts journalist

Mutare-based traditional dance ensemble Dapurahunanzva won the top prize at the just-concluded Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Finals, which saw 10 groups, each from 10 provinces, compete for top honors.

The competition took place on the Main Stage at Harare Gardens on Saturday and also saw Zimdancehall musician Killer T and contemporary musician Jah Prayzah serenade hundreds of fans who thronged the event.

Budiriro Arts from Mashonaland West province was crowned first runner-up, while Dedza Chitandizo from Harare province came third.

In an interview with The Herald Arts, Dapurahunanzva band leader Keaven Simmondo said they were happy to have won after years of participating in the contest.

“We started participating in this festival in 2010 and it has always been a tough competition every year,” he said.

“We won the provincial rounds and this is the first time we won at the national level.

“I would say it’s determination and courage that got us this far. We are based in Mutare and trained at Bait Hall.

“The band was formed in 1998 and has also performed at many festivals around the country, even performing at school events and national events.”

Simmondo said they performed the popular “mbakumba” dance because they were inspired by it.

He said they are now planning an international tour.

“It was very difficult for us to produce the dance presented at the festival,” Simmondo said. The journey has been full of thorns and I want to thank the team for their hard work, especially coaches Reginald Tinavapi and Taura Moyo who have always been with the group.

“They helped with the choreography and moving from place to place. We are now planning to do a national tour promoting this dance, mbakumba, and will do an international tour with four mbakumba dances and others from Manicaland because we also want to promote our culture of the province.

Simmondo said they wanted to do a documentary about the dance group.

“We want to produce a DVD on quirky dances, especially from Manicaland, which will be released soon to promote dance culture in Zimbabwe,” he said.

The Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival, like any other event requiring a gathering, has been affected by restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic for the past two years.

The festival is organized by Delta Corporation.

According to Delta Corporation General Manager – Corporate Affairs, Patricia Murambinda, the dance festival was intended to empower unsung artists and nurture talent across the country.

“This festival has become important in promoting and ensuring that traditional dances, which are one of our crucial intangible cultural heritages, are celebrated,” she said.

“Dance and music have played an important role in how people interact, celebrate and tell about our past.

“To this end, the Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival has kept alive the many traditional dances that define the country and its people.”

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