The Chronicle

Melissa Mpofu (recently in Kadoma)

BULAWAYO’s Ezimnyama dance group did the city proud on Saturday when they once again, won the Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival at a competition held at Rimuka Stadium in Kadoma.

The group, which won the competition in 2017 at White City Stadium, wanted a second bite of the Neshamwari cherry and it was clear they were determined to get it through their flawless act.

It was evident the 17-member group was going to make top three as they impressed the audience with their Khoisan Setapa dance. For their efforts, the group was presented with a RTGS$15 000 cheque while second placed Budiriro Arts (Mashonaland West) got RTGS$10 000. Harare’s Totambe Ngoma Arts Ensemble was third placed and was presented with a RTGS$5 000 cheque.

Other groups which participated are Chipolopolo Zambia Nyau (Midlands), Gango (Masvingo), Pezhuba Pachena (Matabeleland North), Goromonzi Arts (Mashonaland East), Red Wing Mine (Manicaland), Swerengoma (Mashonaland Central) and Ben Arinoti (Matabeleland South).

Ezimnyama manager, Phibion Ncube, who attributed their victory to hard work and creativity, said they were elated to have won the competition again.

“This (win) shows that we’re still visible on the market. As a group, we specialise in developing talent so prestigious events like these make us strong and visible in the industry,” he said.

Ncube said they will not relax as they are now eyeing penetrating the international market like what Gwanda’s Bolamba Arts is doing. 

“We’re so grateful for the Neshamwari win and we’re not going to give up as we want to create strong networks with international people. Already, we have a performance scheduled for Palapye in Botswana on the 22nd of August and we’re looking to engage with promoters from outside the country. We’re also expecting visitors from Spain who’re coming to see the group,” he said.

“The idea behind these competitions is to also showcase the dances which are found in Africa”.

On their prize money, Ncube said they were going to use most of it to develop the arts group. 

“We’re going to sit down as a group and discuss what to do with this money (RTGS$15 000). Definitely, some of it is going to be split among the artistes and some is going to go towards the development of the group. 

“Last time when we won, we managed to buy a kombi for the group and we no longer have transport challenges. This is why the group is growing because we focus more on developments.” 

To celebrate their win, Ezimnyama danced to Solomon Skuza’s Banolila and further mesmerised the hundreds who attended the event. An after-party which was headlined by Alick Macheso was held at the same venue, but Macheso was not in his top form as he seemed to be losing his voice.