The usually serene picturesque town of Murehwa will today come alive as the annual Jerusarema-mbende Festival kicks off.
About 13 primary schools from Murehwa and other places in Mashonaland East will compete at the festival that will see the best performing group walking way with a prize.
Popular drummer Douglas Vambe will be the guest artist, while Goromonzi-based groups Ngoma Dzepasi and Rarira Dendera will be also showcasing their Mbende skills.
Festival co-ordinator Cuthbert Maziwa said it would be a one-day event unlike previous editions.
“This year’s edition of the festival is a one day event since we separated it from Murehwa Uzumba Cultural Festival (MUCUF),” said Maziwa.
“The two used to run concurrently, but this year it’s different, MUCUF will be held in October.
“Friday (today)’s event starts at 10am and 13 primary schools are set to battle for top glory, while Vambe and other traditional dance groups are set to be guest artists.
“Vambe will be performing at the festival since he is the most celebrated jerusarema-mbende drummer in the country. He has been part of the festival over the past years.”
Mbende-jerusarema dance is a popular dance style practiced in the Murehwa and Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe districts.
The dance is characterised by sensual and acrobatic movements by women in unison with men, driven by a single polyrhythmic drummer accompanied by men playing woodblock clappers and by women handclapping, yelling and blowing whistles.
The festival is sponsored by Unesco and supported by National Arts Council of Zimbabwe.