BULAWAYO dance ensemble, Ezimnyama, on Saturday broke the four-year jinx that has haunted them to be crowned champions of this year’s Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival national finals at White City Stadium in the City of Kings.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
For the first time in the history of the festival, that only features 10 provincial champions from the country’s provinces, 11 groups participated at the event.
Sources said allegations of corruption at the Matabeleland North’s provincial finals reportedly forced the organisers to award two groups tickets to the national finals.
Ezimnyama showcased a well-choreographed Tswana traditional dance, Setapae, characterised by whistles and fancy footwork, to swing the odds in their favour.
The group pocketed the grand prize of $7 000 and a recording contract, while Culture Warriors (Harare) and How Mine Chioda (Midlands) cashed in $5 000 and $3 000, respectively, for being runners’ up.
Ezimnyama dance ensemble founder and arts director, Phibion Ncube, told NewsDay that the group was rewarded for their spirited efforts.
“I am happy that we won the Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance national finals today. This is our second time participating at this competition we were at the 2015 national finals and after missing other editions, we went back to the drawing board and did our research and we then contracted someone who knows the dance to assist us on choreography,” he said.
Zimbabwe National Traditional Dancers’ Association president, Kennedy Kachuruka said the level of talent exhibited at the festival was amazing.
“I am happy that all the groups were very good and even in terms of gender, women did extremely well. How Mine Chioda is a women’s group and this is the third time the women are getting a prize at the nationals. I am happy by such presentation,” he said.
Kachuruka applauded the festival partners for the continuous running of the event saying Delta Beverages were doing a good job in promoting culture in Zimbabwe.
Fans were treated to an energetic performance by dancehall sensation Winky D and his Vigilance band.
Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival is a long-running empowerment programme sponsored by Delta Beverages through their Chibuku brand and co-ordinated by National Arts Council of Zimbabwe in partnership with Zimbabwe Traditional Dance Association.