Sunday 29 September was a very colourful and energetic day at Sibikwa Arts Centre, as 83 traditional dancers and audience members came together.
The weather was beautiful, the venue was abuzz with people all dressed in their finest traditional attire, and the distinct smell of some of South Africa’s favourite foods from the braai area and food court. The arts and crafts vendors, displaying and selling their traditional handmade jewellery, shoes, clothes and other products, added to the vibrancy of Sibikwa’s campus.
To kick off the day, Sibikwa’s Saturday Arts Academy learners welcomed the audience with a lively isiZulu traditional dance and the Inclusive Creative Arts Programme learners offered an exciting marimba and drumming performance that got everyone ready for what the day had in store for them.
The MC for the first part of the day was Tebogo Matsheni, a Sibikwa Saturday Arts Academy drama teacher, who kept the audience captivated with her jokes and storytelling. As part of the programme, the audience was entertained by Sello sa Tlou, a traditional Sepedi dance group, Via Broom performing incredible Pantsula routines, a group from Mbazwana Arts Centre in KZN that came to present a musical, and a performance by Sibikwa’s Saturday Arts Academy learners, titled ‘We are all from one’. The audience was also thrilled to see performances by special guest artists, Mduduzi Mkhethi and Busisiwe Nyundu, they are both Sibikwa Alumni, now acclaimed artists; who came to inspire the audience and the learners through their music and drama performances. To get the audience further engaged in the excitement experienced through the arts and performance, they were also invited to be part of a drumming circle, led by Mokhalinyana Mokhere and his learners, also from Sibikwa’s Saturday Arts Academy.
But of course, the main attraction for the day was the traditional dance competition. The young dancers, all aged between 6 and 21, forming the 8 competing traditional dance groups, came prepared in their traditional outfits and ready to win. The groups, presenting isiZulu, Setswana, Sesotho, Isixhosa and Sepedi traditional dance routines, came from Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the North West province to participate in the competition. The competition was tight, with all groups performing at their best. After all elimination rounds were complete, the MC for the afternoon programme, Ikwekwezi FM’s Biziwe Masango, announced the top 4 groups as selected by the judges, for the audience to decide on who would take the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize. In third place was The Undefeated Angels from Daveyton who performed Isixhosa Traditional dance and took home 2 Djembe drums and R1000. In second place was Reithabetse Theatre production from Evaton in Sebokeng who performed a Setswana traditional dance titled Witchcraft and took home 3 Djembe drums and R1500. And the winners of the top prize of 5 Djembe drums and the R2000 cash prize, was Umzekelo Cultural Organisation from Tembisa who performed a Sepedi Traditional dance; who were very clearly the crowd favourite.
Another highlight of the day was the traditional Fashion Parade. All of the women, men and couples, donning their beautiful traditional wear, were invited to be part of the fashion parade. The audience was very engaged in motivating the entrants and voting for their favourites, as they strutted and danced across the stage. The prize for best dressed female went to Vumile Qupe, best dressed male went to Jerry Mahlangu and best dressed couple went to Tebogo Matsheni and Sandile Matsheni, Prizes for the fashion parade included Senegalese fabrics and handmade traditional masks, drums and statues.
The day was a huge success and a great way to close off Heritage month.