Korean envoy  appreciates local talent Korean Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Bongkae Do poses with the first prize winners Extreme Dreamers recently

Arts Reporter

Republic of Korea Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Bongkae Do has hailed local talent and said it should be exposed to the world.

He made the remarks during the crowning ceremony of the Zimbabwe preliminaries stage performance winners of the just-ended K-pop festival held recently at The Venue in Harare.

The K-pop festival was organised by the South Korean Embassy in Zimbabwe and saw 22 contestants taking part in music and dance competitions.

The event saw Chitungwiza-based dance group Extreme Dreamers crowned winners, walking away with US$500, while Tanaka Nicole scooped the second place, pocketing US$300.

Third place went to Jaime Marr and received US$200.

The best visual was by Ashley Ann, while best teamwork went to Mamero.

“My Embassy advertised the K-pop World Festival 2022 Zimbabwe Preliminaries and we started receiving entries from last month up until June 10,” said Mr Do.

“We received 44 entries in total, broken down to 22 in the dance category and 22 in the vocal category from youths of all ages throughout Zimbabwe. Among those entries, 23 contestants have been invited to today’s event.”

Mr Do said the show would be broadcast on local television stations for many to see and appreciate the talent ahead of the world competition.

“The Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), the Korean version of ZBC will announce the semi-final selection in August or early September,” he said. 

“I know that the Zimbabwean team is yet to be invited to the final competition. I hope this year a Zimbabwean team will get the ticket to the final event.

“I know the winners will have a good chance of being invited to join the 2022 Changwon K-pop World Festival in September together with the winners of the other regional rounds.”

Mr Do appreciated all the competitors’ energetic dedication to the Zimbabwe preliminaries.

“We gave a big hand to the winners and of course, a bigger hand to those of you who have not won the competition,” he said. “If you enjoyed the ‘heung’ of K-pop, you are all winners. My heartfelt appreciation goes to my embassy’s public diplomacy team for its wonderful arrangements.

“This is why even in Zimbabwe, the youth are able to experience and enjoy K-pop as they copy the dance moves of the popular artists such as BTS, Black Pink, to name but a few. It is my firm belief that the ‘heung’ element is embedded in the DNA of Africans, indeed the Zimbabwean people who enjoy singing and dancing in their daily life.” 

Asked about the meaning of the festival and K- pop style, Mr Do said: “I believe K-pop originated from the Korean traditional culture’s unique characteristics of ‘heung.’ The Korean word, ‘heung’ implies joy and rhythm and it may similarly mean ‘fun’ in the English word.

“But I think ‘heung’ has a much deeper meaning. When you enjoy music in a group and get into the rhythm, a strong bond is formed between people. A Korean cultural analyst said “the common thread that binds fans together has led to a pop celebrity culture in Korea that dominates the music scene,” explained Mr Do.

He said last year, an American newspaper, the Washington Post, described it as K-pop’s main ingredient – a catchy hook song – gets paired with a signature dance move, the entire package is optimised for social media and dedicated fans all have helped make K-pop an international phenomenon.

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