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Wednesday, April 26, 2017



March 21 was a day filled with incredible dance talent, amazing energy and colourful costumes, reports The Playhouse Company in announcing the winners in the seven Zulu dance categories of the Ingoma Competition held at Curries Fountain.

Some 42 groups participated in this day-long competition, with over 1,700 participants from all around KZN and beyond. Beautiful, colourful costumes, mighty songs, and impressive moves were the order of the day, and the capacity crowd were jubilant in their praise.

Prize money was awarded as follows: The winning group in each category won R8,000; the second prize awarded was R6,000; and the third prize was R4,000. Consolation prizes for the remaining three groups in each of the six categories were awarded R1,200 each. Total prize money amounted to R129,600, and trophies worth over R17,000 and certificates were presented to the groups placed in first, second and third place in each category.

The winning groups in the seven Zulu dance categories were as follows:


Winners: Izigi zabafazi; Second place: Buhle bomkhambathi; Third place: Asakhe

This dance is performed by women, preferably married women. It was an alternative to Amahubo, which was performed by men when they were chanting to the ancestors in the kraal. Women were not allowed to be part of Amahubo, so they created their own dance, isigekle. It is performed in different ceremonies by women, including weddings. The dance is accompanied by a group of young singers who sing, clap and beat the drums. The dancers do not raise their feet too high to show respect. The women wear Isicholo (head gear) and isidwaba (traditional skirts), and they carry small shields and knobkerries. Each group has a specific theme and colour scheme to their costumes.


Winners: Ingwe mnyama; Second place: Amaqhawe; Third place: Iful elimnyama

This dance is another variation of Ingoma yezinsizwa. This one was originally from the Umbumbulu region. It became popular after the arrival of the missionaries. There is a pattern called isifuba which is in the centre. Isifuba consist of those who are more experienced. It is supported by Isipani who shadow whatever is done by Isifuba. The costume consists of long thigh-length socks with stripes. They also wear short skirts. Some wear rugby shorts. The leg is not raised very high in this dance. The dancers carry shields and traditional sticks which are also used to create formations. The dance is accompanied by singers and a lot of hand-clapping (ukukhwahla). There is also igoso which leads the dance.


Winners: Shikishi; Second place: Amathole amnyama; Third place: Mkholombe indlavini

This dance is named after the Shameni River in Umsinga in KwaZulu-Natal. The style was formed during the time when railways were being built in the province. It is a variation of Ingoma yezinsizwa mixed with Indlamu, but with a regional flair. Izinqambi were responsible for creating the songs. They also lead the songs during the dance. Igosa leads the dance. Originally there were no drums in Isishameni dance. The leg of the dancer is bent during the dance to show the ankle. The dancers dance in specific line formations, and they stretch their hands up high during the dance, which is accompanied by singers who clap. The dancers’ costumes consist of pants and vests or t-shirts because when the dance first started, the men would use whatever clothing they were wearing at the time. They also wear traditional sandals (udabuluzwane).


Winners: iKusasa elihle; Second place: Izintombi zosizo; Third place: Mtimande

This dance is specific to maidens. It was used during different types of rites of passages for young girls, from the time they reach puberty, to virgin testing, lobola and weddings.

The dance is accompanied by drums, clapping, singing and the music is very energetic. The costume consists of traditional skirts made of colourful beads. The leg needs to be raised high.


Winners: Vuka yibambe; Second place: Ofeleba; Third place: uMoya obandayo

The most common type of Ingoma yezinsinzwa. The dance is accompanied by singers who also clap. The beating of a big drum was added later in the dance. It is a very traditional dance form that can be seen in the use of traditional costumes including Ibheshu and dancing barefoot. The dance is used during young men’s rites of passage, weddings and traditional ceremonies. It is a very competitive dance that is full of excitement. In terms of body posture, the leg has to be straight when you dance and must reach the side of the ears. The dancers carry shields and decorated sticks. Igosa will start the dance and ispani will follow suit.


Winners: Ingqayizivele; Second place: Amabubesi; Third place: Osizweni Theatre Production

This is a war dance that was introduced by Shaka Zulu to the warriors. It was a like a military drill that required precision, with the dancers following a specific pattern. It is accompanied by drums with minimal singing. This dance was specific to Amabutho (warriors) to help them prepare for battle. Igosa also leads Isipani and can do solo performances. There is a lot of showing off with this type of dance as it was necessary to psyche warriors up for battle. There is also a lot whistling to encourage whoever is dancing at the time. The music that accompanies it has war themes. The dancers carry bigger shields and longer sticks.


Winners: Umlazi Jinge; Second place: Ntsika yeAfrika; Third place: iGugulesizwe
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