Intwasa Arts Festival KoBulawayo came to life last night at Bulawayo Theatre and opened with a new African dance production by award winning Theatre Company Umkhathi Theatre Works who gave a scintillating master piece that left the audience cringing for more. Unlike previous editions of the festival that usually open with an auspicious ceremony that is often held at the City Hall Car Park, the 14th edition came in with a different script, opting for the musical dance production as the opener.
By Kudakwashe Takundwa and Keith K Moyo
Umkhathi Theatre Works’ latest musical dance production is about rebirth, regeneration and blooming, signalling the arrival of spring which is symbolic of the yearly Festival. Bloom Bloom exhibits the diverse traditional dances originating from all over Zimbabwe and Southern Africa. The 50 minute long production saw the 24 member cast showcase traditional dances such as the Shagara, Muchongoyo, Isitschikitsha and Setapa which originates from the Bangwaketse tribe of Kanye village in Botswana. Muchongoyo is regarded as one the most important and distinctive dances in Zimbabwe.
“Through the show Umkhathi hopes to showcase the beauty of African traditional dances and also in the process preserve them” said the group administrator Joseph Ngubo who was speaking to our news team at Bulawayo Theatre last night.
The production proved why Umkhathi Theatre Works is regarded as one of Zimbabwe’s leading dance groups of all time. Umkhathi has previously won Chibuku Neshamwari traditional dance final, National Arts and Merit Award amongst a number of other accolades they have been bestowed with.
This year’s edition of Intwasa Arts Festival is running under the theme “Realities and Experiences”, and offers a diverse programme that includes theatre, dance, music, film, spoken word, visual arts and literary arts.
The festival will host 25 events in four days amongst them is the popular Women, Wine and Words which will feature Edith WeUtonga , Prudence Mabhena, Miss Vee and poet Batsirai Chigama. In theatre Intwasa hosts Savanna Trust’s “Liberation”, Nhimbe Trust’s “Blood Tongue” , Victory Siyanqoba’s “Rachel 19” and Jahunda Community Arts’ “Gukurahundi”.
The festival will shut down with Umcimbi Wabantu on Sartuday 29 September 2018 at the city hall car park in a show that will be headlined by South Africa’s Soul Brothers, Jeys Marabini, Madlela Skhobokhobo and other local Bulawayo musicians.