The Annual Jikinya Dance Festival, which was shelved in the past two years due to the Covid-19 restrictions, will return this year with provincial finals starting on the 11th of November and the national finals pencilled for Winery Hall in Gweru on Thursday 24 November 2022.
Rodney Ruwende, NACZ Communication and Marketing Manager
The festival, a partnership between the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) and the National Association of Primary Heads (NAPH) will be held under the theme “Building Zimbabwe through dance, our Heritage is our Identity”.
The theme speaks to the importance of dance in showcasing who we are as Zimbabweans. This theme is appropriate for the return of Jikinya as it calls for the nation to appreciate and perform Zimbabwean traditional dances thus promoting, safeguarding and showcasing our cultural heritage.
The festival will see schools performing a dance of their choice as well as the common dance as per the familiar standard. Amabhiza makes a return as the common dance for the 2022 edition of Jikinya, having been the inaugural common dance in 2011 when the concept was introduced.
Amabhiza originates from Matabeleland South and was traditionally performed at rain-asking ceremonies to appease the spirits of the rainmakers for a good harvest. The dancers follow the steps of a horse accompanied by three drums, clapping and a whistle. The third small drum is a special drum that produces a squawking sound, which is the signature sound of the performance.
The common dance concept was introduced to allow all participating children, despite their regions to learn, perform and appreciate diverse Zimbabwean cultures through dance. Several dances have been showcased as the common dance in previous years including Muchongoyo, Jerusarema, Mbakumba, and isiTshikitsha. The dances selected reflect some authentic traditional aspects of a particular ethnic, religious or cultural group in Zimbabwe.
The Jikinya Dance Festival began in 2001 and has nurtured talent in traditional music and dance by showcasing a variety of Zimbabwean dances by Primary School pupils. The competition is a permanent fixture on the school calendar involving over 5000 primary schools in the country competing at district, provincial and national levels every year.