Umkhathi Theatre Works emerged the winners in the annual Chibuku Neshwamwari traditional dance competition for Bulawayo metropolitan province held recently.
The competition was sponsored by Delta Beverages and held in collaboration with the National Arts Council (HAC) of Zimbabwe.
Umkhathi Theatre Works will now proceed to Harare for the finals to compete against seven other groups that include Ingwazi Zomculo, Kwabatsha Dance Company, Hloseni Arts, Thandanani Women’s Ensemble, Ingwenyama Arts, Black Smith Choir and Inclusive Cultural Ensemble.
Acclaimed arts group, Siyaya Arts were the guest group providing entertainment to the audience. The groups showcased some scintillating cultural dances and displayed a great sense of preparation save for a few such as Ingwazi Zomculo who struggled to impress. Umkhathi did a Tswana dance called setapa and impressed the judges with energetic dances and walked away $500 richer for their efforts.
“We worked hard to achieve the feat and we are really looking forward to the finals,” said Umkhathi administrator Joseph Ngubo as the group members hugged each other dressed in animal skin costumes.
Ngubo said the group learnt the setapa dance after visiting the neighbouring Botswana on a cultural exchange programme. He promised that Umkhathi would give other groups a run for their money in the finals in Harare.
“We want to show them what Bulawayo has to offer in terms of traditional dance.”
NAC programmes officer William Nyandoro said the competition this year was stiff.
“It was the tightest competition we have had in years,” he said. Kwabatsha Dance Company came second and received $300 while Hloseni Arts was third and got $200. All groups were also given $100 for attendance.