8th Annual Cultural Calabash Works a Treat
As African Rhythm Calls, Let Us Respond in Unity - this was the theme of the 8th Annual Cultural Calabash, which celebrates both the country’s diversity and unity by presenting a spectrum of traditional African music and dance.
The event, at the Howard College, showcased performing artists from both UKZN and the broader community. It was organised as part of the service learning training by the African Music and Dance (AMD) students in their third level of study in the African Music Outreach: Community Development module in the School of Arts.
Co-ordinator of the AMD programme, Dr Patricia Opondo, said: ‘It is with great pride that we see students take up the onerous responsibilities in organising such an event which provides them with skills to become event managers and festival co-ordinators in the fields of public sector ethnomusicology and public folklore. The theme for this year’s Calabash is indeed a clarion call for us to look to our roots and - while we celebrate our heritage - to be united in spirit.’
Artists who performed at the event included: Ovula (Maskandi band), Iziqhaza (Afro-jazz duo), Umthamutamu (Umkhomazi dance group), Feel Africa (Mbira from Zimbabwe), Afro-gong (percussion from Mozambique), Mzomborico (Kwaito artist), Slindile Khumalo (Isishiyameni AMD students) and Ubuciko the Art (Music poetry interlude).
Ms Slindile Khumalo, a third-year AMD student in African Music, was also part of the event where she showcased her talent in a Zulu dance style called Isishiyameni. The repertoire was inspired by her motto in her music career of: People should not forget where they came from, whether they are in a new environment such as a university or away from home. Their roots are important in moulding them into what they are.’
Popular African food which consists of different African dishes such as Inhloko (Cow head meat), Isitambu (Samp) and many other dishes were served at the event.
AMD student Mr Nhlakanipho Ngcobo said: ‘The Cultural Calabash is a great platform for upcoming artists to be celebrated, given a chance to share their talents in a wide spectrum and to give hope to rural-based artists so that their work will be seen by a wider audience.’
- Melissa Mungroo