DANCE: Nakanjani Theatre Productions
Review by ZIMKITA LINYANA
As a human race, we have developed common aspirations. To be in line with the mainstream, to ‘get with the program’, and ‘to be with it’. We have become universal in our modernity and everyday cultural ‘norms’. Although this is important and somewhat necessary, we should not forget we are a diverse people. We can all share ideals and values, but we must preserve, celebrate, and embrace our cultural diversity.
My mind and senses were blown away, mesmerised. The group communicated through dance, song, praise, sound, and rhythm. In just under an hour, the choreography and performance showcased more than 50 styles of movement, all done with in-sync precision and eloquence. This dance piece celebrates the beauty of nature and the beauty of being African. It is a Setswana Dance performed by young boys and girls, combining Setapa and Phathisi. The audience saluted the performance with a crazed standing ovation, and a toddler couldn’t help but run off to the front of the stage to mimic the moves, and we all understood why!
A man from Russia, who specifically came to Makhanda for the festival, remarked, “It was great that these guys shared their beautiful culture with us. Every time you approach an authentic culture, not modern but traditional, it is a very special moment; it’s not very common nowadays. I am so thankful.”
However, it was pretty striking that the patriarchy really has no bounds. The Setswana cultural heritage was portrayed authentically, and the undertones of patriarchal norms were as striking and recognisable as they are in our universal modern times.