Chibuku Neshamwari finals on this weekend

HARARE - Ten super traditional dance groups selected from Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces will battle it out in Harare this Saturday for the Chibuku Neshamwari final competition.

A group from Mozambique, Villa 1, which specialises in nyau dance, will perform as guests.

Traditional dance is popular in Zimbabwe but like most art forms it has been waning. This competition, held annually for the past 49 years, renews the genre’s appeal to the often culturally-deprived Zimbabwean populace.

Provincial finals were held across the country and the national finals will be held in the Harare Gardens.

Much hyped as a family event, the show will be open to all and free of charge.

Groups that will represent Zimbabwe’s ten provinces are, Harare, Batsiranai Group with dinhe dance, Midlands, Wadzanai group with mbakumba, Mashonaland Central, Swerengoma with mbende, Mashonaland East,  Ben Arinoti with beni, Matabeleland South,  Inqama Yephondo with  amabiza, Matabeleland North,  Idwala Elikhulu with mbende, Bulawayo, Imvimbi Arts with umchongoyo, Manicaland, Bembera with mbakumba, Masvingo, Musa (Mutimukuru School of Arts) with bira and Mashonaland West, Nengoma with dinhe.

The Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival and its sister show, The Chibuku Road to Fame are initiatives of Delta Beverages in collaboration with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz).

The festival’s major objective is to promote the appreciation and development of ethnic traditional dances in Zimbabwe. The event is managed by the Zimbabwe National Traditional Dancers Association (ZNTDA).

Chibuku Neshamwari aims to represent the entire range of cultures present in Zimbabwe through dance. Some of the dances showcased during the competition include, isithsikitsha, imbube, jerusarema, nyau, chimutare, dinhe, mbakumba, mhande and ngororombe.

Delta Corporation, the parent company of Chibuku, says its intentions in supporting the two platforms is to showcase local talent right from the grassroots and to reward artistic expression — realising values that are consistent with those of the Chibuku brand as a friendship brew.

Chairperson of the ZNTDA, Kenny Kachuruka expressed hope that this year’s competition will go a long way in identifying talent while at the same time putting traditional dance groups under the spotlight.

“It is our hope that this year’ edition of the competition will be much bigger and better,” he said.

“One of our aims is to identify and promote talent in the field of traditional dance and we are optimistic this year’s edition of Neshamwari Festival will go a long way in helping us realise this dream.”

Kachuruka said participants in all the provincial finals got $100 appearance fee while last year’s winners in the provincial finals performed as guest groups in their provinces.

Villa 1 Nyau Club from Mbare won last year’s finals of the Chibuku Neshamwari Dance Festival.

The Daily News obtained interesting facts on Hari yemadzisahwira, Chibuku brand. Delta Beverages said, “It is the biggest selling beer brand in Zimbabwe; in fact it accounted for just more than one out of every two beers consumed in Zimbabwe in the past year.

“It’s arguably the fastest expanding beer brand in the SabMiller Africa portfolio, having received a hearty welcome as far afield as Ghana from humble beginnings in Zambia in the late 1950s.

“Compared to many other beer brews, it has high food content, using the goodness of nature to make one of our country’s most beloved drinks.

“Its biggest selling pack, the two-litre scud, was named after one of the most infamous missiles used in the Gulf war.”

One of the various traditional dances featured in previous competitions.

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