HARARE – Preparations for this year’s National Jikinya Dance Festival to be held in Bulawayo at the Large City Hall on November 29 have gone a gear up.
The festival that is held annually by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) seeks to at encourage children to appreciate and perform Zimbabwean traditional dances.
Jikinya, which aims to promote and preserve Zimbabwe’s cultural heritage, showcases various traditional dances by primary school pupils.
The theme for this year’s Jikinya festival celebrations is; “Our Culture: A Spring of Diversity and Harmony.” This theme underscores the various traditional dance types that will be showcased by primary schools at this year’s edition.
Jikinya is designed to be a reflection of Zimbabwe’s cultural diversity and to bring the nation together in celebration of culture.
All participating schools will perform a dance of their choice in addition to the mandatory Jerusarema Mbende dance.
For the past three years a specific dance has been selected as a festival piece that runs for two years and is referred to as a common dance.
The common dance-which is Jerusarema Mbende this year- was introduced so that all participating children, from the different regions can learn, perform and appreciate dances from other regions.
Jerusarema Mbende, performed by people in Murewa and Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe (UMP) in the north eastern districts of Zimbabwe, was proclaimed a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco.
The founder and founding vice chancellor of the Women’s University in Africa Professor Hope Sadza donated a trophy for the Jikinya Dance Festival’s common dance.
The trophy has since been named the ‘Professor Hope Sadza Trophy for Outstanding Common Dance Performance’ and will be handed for the first time at this year’s festival.
The first common dance piece, which was in force from 2011 to last year, was Amabhiza commonly done by the Kalanga people of Matabeleland South Province. Matjinge Primary School won the event in 2011 with Tokwana Primary School coming out tops last year.
The winning school at this year’s edition of the National Jikinya Dance Festival will be the guest group during the National Culture Week Launch in May next year.
The winners will also grace the national independence celebrations on April 18.
The NACZ is expecting a bumper crowd to attend the November 29 dance competition as there are no entry charges.