Mutare-based traditional dance ensemble Dapurahunanzva scooped the first prize at the just-ended Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance finale, which saw 10 groups, each from the 10 provinces, competing for the top honours.
The competition was held on Saturday at the Harare Gardens main stage and also saw Zimdancehall musician Killer T and contemporary musician Jah Prayzah serenading hundreds of fans who thronged the event.
Budiriro Arts group from Mashonaland West Province was crowned the first runners-up, while Dedza Chitandizo of Harare Province came third.
In an interview with The Herald Arts, Dapurahunanzva group leader Keaven Simomondo said they were happy that they won after years of taking part in the competition.
“We started taking part at this festival in 2010 and it has always been a tough competition each year,” he said.
“We have been winning the provincial level rounds and this is our first time winning at national level.
“I would say that it is determination and courage that have put us this far. We are based in Mutare and have been training at Bait Hall.
“The group was formed in 1998 and has been also taking part at a lot of festivals countrywide, even performing at school events and national events.”
Simomondo said they performed the popular “mbakumba” dance because they had been inspired by it.
He said they were now planning an international tour.
“It was very difficult for us to produce the dance displayed at the festival,” said Simomondo. The journey was fully of thorns and I would like to thank the team for their sheer hard-work, especially trainers Reginald Tinavapi and Taurai Moyo, who were always with the group.
“They helped with the choreography and the movements from one place to another. We are now planning to do a national tour promoting this dance, mbakumba, and will do an international tour with four dances mbakumba and others from Manicaland as we also want to promote our culture from the province.”
Simomondo said they wanted to do a documentary about the dance group.
“We want to produce a DVD on eccentric dances, especially from Manicaland, which will be released soon to promote the dance culture in Zimbabwe,” he said.
The Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival, like any other event that needed gathering, was affected by Covid-19 pandemic restrictions for the past two years.
The festival is organised by Delta Corporation.
According to Delta Corporation general manager — corporate affairs Patricia Murambinda, the dance festival was meant to empower unheralded artistes and nurturing talent around 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 the way people interact, celebrate and narrate our past.
“To this end, Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival has kept alive the many traditional dances that define the country and its people.”