Masvingo hosts Jikinya festival

HARARE - Zimbabwe's most prestigious traditional dance competition for primary schools — the Jikinya Dance Festival — will take place at Masvingo Polytechnic College tomorrow.

As has become the norm, the competition, sponsored by Delta Corporation, will feature 10 provincial primary school champions.

Schools which will participate in the 14th edition, running under the theme “Empowering Communities Through Dance,” are  Mkhithika Thebe Primary School (Bulawayo), St Joseph’s School (Mashonaland East), Chegutu School (Mashonaland West), Jahunda School (Matabeleland South), Rujeko School (Manicaland), Ndlovu School (Mat North), Chembira School (Harare),  Matenda School (Midlands),  Chipindura School (Mashonaland Central) and Maringire School from Masvingo.

Last year, the competition was won by St Peters Tokoyo Primary school from Manicaland with St Joseph Primary School from Mashonaland East province coming second while Matabeleland North’s Ndlovu School grabbed third place.

The competition, being jointly organised by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz) and the National Association of Primary Heads (NAPH) will see schools showcasing a dance of their choice as well as the common dance that is Ihosanna.

“Five years ago, Nacz introduced a system whereby a specific dance is selected as a festival piece that runs for two years and is judged as a common dance.
“The common dance was introduced so that all participating children, despite their regions, can learn, perform and appreciate diverse Zimbabwean cultures through dance.

“Ihosanna is a dance that is performed in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. It is a rainmaking dance.

“The dance is also used during spiritual ceremonies amongst the Ndebele people,” said Nacz marketing and communications officer Cathrine Mthombeni.

She added that the competition is an annual one which seeks to promote and preserve Zimbabwe’s cultural heritage.

“The festival showcases various traditional dances by primary school pupils and the different dances that will be showcased will be a reflection of the dance culture found in different communities of Zimbabwe.

“The festival encourages communities to adopt safeguarding measures through dance so that communities appreciate the value of transmitting the skills from generation to generation for posterity,” said Mthombeni.

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