Dancing and singing for gender justice

Dancing and singing for gender justice

Date: April 24, 2012
  • SHARE:

Participants to the third annual Gender Justice and Local Government Summit kicked up their heels in traditional dances and sang songs during the gala’s cultural diversity evening Monday night to reinforce the summit’s theme “365 days of local action to end violence and empower women.”

The Zambian delegation, through the Chewa Chinamwali dance, denounced the harmful cultural practice of wife inheritance, because it increases women’s vulnerability to HIV and AIDS, as well as to mental and physical abuse.

The Namibians echoed this theme through the lyrical story of a young woman who could not go ahead with her marriage, because she needed her father’s consent, even though he had deserted the family. The Damara/nama dance captured the emotional abuse that women go through because of these cultural practices, but also highlighted family togetherness, even when a prodigal family member returns.

A message that brought cheers from the other delegates was the Zimbabwean popular song Mhondoro dzinomwa, which urges women to rise and take their rightful place as leaders alongside men in line with the spirit of the SADC Gender Protocol slogan, ‘2015! Yes we must!’

The Mozambicans had delegates humming and swaying to their performance, while the island nations of Mauritius and Madagascar set the night alight with lively exotic dances and a fusion of pre-recorded traditional instruments to hold the audience spellbound.

Like a cool breeze, the Mauritian islanders wafted onto the stage. They turned the audience into one big choir and dance troupe as they moved to the Sega, the country’s national dance. The catchy tropical rhythm of what sounded like Indian drums complimented their graceful movements across the stage. Madagascar’s delegates added to the island flavour with their ochre painted faces to whoops of sheer delight from the crowd.

Sustained applause followed the Swazi’s off the stage after the delegates from this country performed their artistic Ingadla traditional dance. The agility and flexibility of one of their dancers, Bonisile Ntuli, stole the hearts of many.

Not to be outdone by their SADC compatriots, the South African delegation sang one of their popular sports anthems, Shosholoza, and show cased an electrifying dance, which entailed more vigorous shaking of the hands rather than their feet. Participants from Lesotho followed with a serene presentation dressed in their beautifully coloured traditional garb.

Botswana’s finale had everyone on their feet dancing to the popular Charma Gal tune Mama ntshware nna ke sia Matabele, not once, but twice, as delegates left the hall still clicking their heels together and swaying their hips to the beat.

Temba Dube is a journalist with the Chronicle in Zimbabwe. This article is part of GL Opinion and Commentary Service, special news and analysis series of the 2012 Gender Justice and Local Government Summit



Comment on Dancing and singing for gender justice

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *