'Simunye's tour of India a success'

FARIDABAD, INDIA -  Victoria Falls-based dance group, Simunye Arts Ensemble and wire craft artist Stewart Mauzinyu, have returned to Zimbabwe after a highly successful 17-day tour of India that saw them showcase at the Surajkund International Crafts Mela held in Faridabad, located about 30 kilometres south of New Delhi.

Simunye, which has been one of the top dance groups in the annual Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival since 2014, was one of the standout groups at the annual event that showcases traditional handicrafts, music, dance and food.

The 10-member group, which performed at least twice a day throughout the 17-day festival that kicked off on February 1, showcased Zimbabwean dances such as jerusarema mbende, chinyambera, muchongoyo, dinhe, chokoto, mbakumba, gule, amabhiza and several other dances from throughout southern Africa.

Simunye concluded their national duty in India on February 16 with the chinyambera dance-a ritual hunter’s dance popular among the Karanga people before a crowd that included Zimbabwe’s ambassador to India Maxwell Ranga and health deputy minister John Mangwiro.

Ranga praised Simunye for raising Zimbabwe’s flag high on their maiden tour of India.

“I was very pleased by their performance. You saw how the Indians joined in to celebrate our traditional rhythms,” Zimbabwe’s ambassador to India told the Daily News.

The ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, which facilitated Simunye and Mauzinyu’s tour of India in collaboration with the Indian Embassy in Harare, has also expressed happiness with the way Simunye captured the imagination of Indians through their exciting mix of Zimbabwean dances.

Sipiwe Jiri, an official with the Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation ministry, who was head of delegation during Simunye and Mauzinyu’s tour of India, told the Daily News that she will lobby government to appreciate the artists for a job well done in India.

“At the moment we don’t have information on that but considering how long they have stayed here and how well they performed here, I will make a recommendation for them to be appreciated. 

“I will lobby for that appreciation considering the fact that members of this traditional dance group left their jobs in Zimbabwe to come here and perform,” said Jiri.

She added that she will also recommend for more craftsmen to be included in similar tours starting next year.

“Given the fact that traditional dancers are not paid for performances here, it makes sense for craftsmen to form the larger chunk of the delegation since they will benefit from getting a market to sell their artifacts here,” said Jiri.

Surajkund International Crafts Mela is widely regarded as the biggest event of its kind in the world. 

“It is a platform that showcases international handicrafts, and traditions against the backdrop of folk music and traditional dances from all corners of the world.

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