CHIBUKU Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival national finals have been set for August 23 at the Harare Gardens.
The festival, which turns 51, will come to a head with 10 provincial champions from across Zimbabwe battling it out for the grand prize of $4 000 in cash for the winners with runners-up walking away with $3 000 and $2 000 respectively.
“We invite the public to come through and enjoy the best of traditional dance from across the length and breadth of the country. Chibuku exists to add enjoyment to the lives of our consumers, and we are proud to be working with our partners to do just that,” said Delta marketing executive Stanley Muchenje in an interview.
The Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival is a tripartite programme organised by the Zimbabwe National Traditional Dance Association and the National Arts Council and sponsored by Delta Beverages’ Chibuku brand.
Launched in 1963, the Chibuku Neshamwari franchise is the single longest running arts sponsorship of its size and reach in the country.
Muchenje said the journey to the Chibuku Neshamwari finals has, for most of the groups, been a hard fought battle.
He said while traditionally the Nyau dances have proved to be popular with the crowds, and have crowned many past winners, this year might just see surprises emerge.
Mashonaland West winners Nengoma Cultural Arts will be representing their home province with a rendition of the Dinhe dance, while Mashonaland Central winners Swerengoma will be dancing the Mbende Jerusarema.
Mashonaland East winners Ngoma Dzepasi will also be performing the Mbende.
Harare province winners Chitukuko Nyau and Midlands winners Zikuvave will provide crowd entertainment with Zambia Gure which has previously dominated the competitions due to its colourful costumes and captivating choreography.
Masvingo winners MUSA Prison will be dancing the Bira dance, while Manicaland’s Redwing Group will do the Beni Dance, and Bulawayo’s Sekunjalo MaAfrica will be doing the Umzansi Dance.
Last year’s winners were from Bulawayo and romped to victory with a Tswana-inspired dance, Setapa.
Rounding up the list of performances are Matabeleland winners Simunye Arts from the North, and Chimtali How Mine from the South who will respectively be dancing to Chinyambera and Chimtali.
Contacted for comment on what leverage the business extracted from sponsoring the traditional showcase, Delta Beverages commercial executive Kenny Mapingire said: “It is our view that Chibuku is more than just a beer, but an approach to life rooted in preserving those traditional and cultural values that identify us as truly Zimbabwean.”