By Kundai Marunya
Primary schools all over the country are already battling it out to secure a spot at the annual Jikinya Dance Festival finals scheduled for Bulawayo in November.
The competition held by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) celebrates and showcases various traditional dances from across Zimbabwe in now at district competition level in anticipation for provincials.
“District Jikinya festivals are already being held countrywide in preparation for the provincial festivals that will commence in the months of September and October,” said NACZ acting communications and marketing manager Cathrine Mtombeni.
“The first prize winning schools in their respective province will participate on the National festival that will be held on 24th November 2017 in Bulawayo.”
This year participating schools are expected to showcase the Muchongoyo dance in addition to their dance of choice.
“The Festival Dance (Muchongoyo) was introduced so that all participating children, despite their regions can learn, perform and appreciate diverse Zimbabwean cultures through dance,” said Mtombeni.
“The dances performed should reflect some authentic traditional aspects of a particular ethnic, religious or cultural group in Zimbabwe.”
Muchongoyo dance also known as Muchongolo originated from Zululand (Nguniland) in South Africa during King Tshaka’s reign. Traditionally, the dance was performed in preparation for and after war, particularly when the warriors emerged victorious.
Today the dance has become a social and recreational one devoid of any religious connotations.
“Muchongoyo is now used to highlight societal events. It is predominantly performed by Ndau and Shangani speaking people mostly living in Chipinge and Chimanimani in Manicaland, some parts of Chiredzi in Zimbabwe as well as in parts of Mozambique,” said Mtombeni.
Held in partnership with National Association of Primary Heads (NAPH) under the sponsorship of Delta Beverages Jikinya Dance Festival aims at encouraging primary school children to appreciate and perform Zimbabwean traditional dances thus promoting and safeguarding Zimbabwe’s cultural heritage.