Renowned historian Pathisa Nyathi has embarked on a literary project to raise awareness on some of the country’s revered traditional dances.
Running under the title “Zimbabwe’s Traditional Dances” the project will see Nyathi publishing a series on various dances. He has already penned his first edition that explores the woso dance.
In the book, Nyathi traces the historical, spiritual and cultural symbolism of the dance that is adapted from the Kalanga.
His next focus will be on jerusarema/mbende dance that is practiced in Mashonaland East.
Nyathi explores the cultural, spiritual and entertainment importance of traditional dances in various societies.
“A traditional dance has a cultural and historical context. It has a spiritual and environmental context. It lives and gets expression through the scintillating and interacting character of the total environment,” writes Nyathi.
Nyathi states in the book that there has not been much information on traditional dances that arts teachers could use to impart important historical information to their students.
“Teachers have done their best they can in the current circumstances. For some, the establishment of cultural villages has been vital for the subject. However, there has been little integration of the structures into daily teaching processes.
Teachers desperately need reading material on various aspects of arts and culture.”
The book contains pictures of costumes used in the woso dance as well as the accompanying traditional instruments such as drums and rattles.
It also comes with a DVD that demonstrates how the dance is executed. Nyathi has published a number of books on arts and culture.