By Steve Ephraem
MUTSHONGOYO Dance, which is one of Ndau people’s pride and identity won big at this year’s edition of the tightly contested Manicaland provincial Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival which was held at YaDzonzai Gaza O Entertainment Arena in Chipinge on 8 July 2023.
Three groups out of the 10 teams which showcased during the festival presented the rich Mutshongoyo dance. These were Holland Dance Group, Chipinge Prison’s Chiaraidze Dance Group and Charurwa Dance Group.
Charurwa became the third place winner as Chiaraidze was crowned the champions in Manicaland Province. The second prize went to Red Wing Mine’s Ben Arinoti Dance Group. In addition to the US$500 appearance fee which each team was given in the 60th edition of the festival, the number one position was given US$2,500, second place US$1,500 and third spot US$1,000.
Two weeks from now, the Manicaland winners will battle it out at the national stage. The most interesting thing happening is that Manicaland are the defending champions after winning the national accolade in the previous year.
Commenting on the festival, a renowned culturist, Phillip Kusasa, who is the director of Ndau Festival of the Arts (NdaFA), was satisfied by how the Ndau traditional dance is causing waves at the national stage.
“I am happy that we had three groups from Chipinge who showcased Mutshongoyo dance in the Manicaland Provincial competitions. I am more than happy to see two of them walking away with top prizes a feat which shows that our culture is versatile and rich.
“To me, this is a sign of times that our culture is becoming a recognised force on the world scale. We would like to see it packages for the international stage. The time is now that Mutshongoyo become a world brand,” he said.
The Provincial Manager of National Arts Council, Caroline Makoni was humbled seeing groups preserving African culture.
“As Zimbabweans, we need to uphold our cultural values. Our culture finds expression in different way for instance, dance, language and others. What we were witnessing here is dance.
“The top winners who showcased are to perform at the National finals of the competitions on July 29. Manicaland are the current holders of the national finals trophy and this time around, I hope that we will be defending it,” she said.
Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival is coordinated by National Arts Council of Zimbabwe in collaboration Zimbabwe National Traditional Dance Association. The galas are sponsored by Delta Beverages’ Chibuku brand division.