Ezimnyama ensemble traverses bumpy terrain

BY SHARON SIBINDI

POPULAR Bulawayo-based dance ensemble, Ezimnyama’s founder and arts director, Phibion Ncube yesterday said hard work and perseverance had enabled them to navigate the bumpy showbiz terrain.

The 17-member award-winning group on Tuesday celebrated its 12th anniversary in the competitive showbiz industry.

In spite of the challenges, the dance ensemble has over the years soldiered on and its efforts have been recognised and rewarded.

Apart from being the winner of the annual Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival twice in 2017 and 2019, the group was honoured at the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards 2018 under the Best Dance Ensemble.

Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style yesterday, Ncube said the journey was not that rosy as they faced a lot of criticism from the community, but soldiered on because of passion and love for the arts.

“During the formative stages, things were very difficult. I had to spend a lot of time trying to share the vision with the artistes, of which most of them would not attend the next day as they did not believe that we would make it,” he said.

“We got criticised by some peers in the community and it was something else because during that time there was a lot of competition among dance groups. It was a very difficult path because nobody believed in what we wanted to achieve and we stuck together to fulfil our mission.”

Ncube said before being hired for live performances, the group would spend a lot of time rehearsing to perfect their performances.

“After some few months, we started to have performances on different occasions and things started to change. We started to buy some costumes, instruments and then started to enter some competitions to test ourselves against other groups,” he said.

“We would win almost all the competitions and this gave us a lot of confidence to keep on creating the best dances.”

He said through determination, they managed to open an office in the city for their administrative work.

“We feel so proud to be where we are because it’s not an easy journey. We have also managed to buy a commuter omnibus for our artistes. We are so happy for the love and support which we have been shown by Bulawayo and Zimbabwe as a whole,” he said.

Ncube said discipline enabled them to achieve their goals and helped to shape the group.

“Good discipline and professionalism took us to where we are today, transforming performing arts into a viable sector by treating it as a profession not a hobby,” he said.

Ncube said this year they were investing in international collaborations and cultural exchange programmes.

“We had to adjust to the new normal as COVID-19 has devastated the world and our sector is among those badly affected because most of the planned activities had to be postponed or cancelled,” he said.

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