African Music and Dance Third Year Students Perform Entertaining African Culture Concerts
Three African Music and Dance (AMD) ensembles from the School of Arts recently performed various music and dance routines depicting African culture as part of their free lunch-hour concerts. The students were decked in traditional attire and wowed the audience with their various song and dance routines.
Over the month of March, the AMD programme presented three lunch hour concerts of original compositions and choreographies from the 10 final year students in the programme. Each ensemble coined their show’s concept, and presented diverse materials.
The first group that opened the March AMD concert series embraced the theme ‘Let’s Celebrate our Cultural Activities’ and their show kicked off with passionate isicathamiya renditions by Ms Thulisiwe Mdakane and Mr Sandile Fakude. The highlight of the first concert was the exhilarating isishameni dance choreographies by Mr Sakhile Mbokazi and Ms Thulisiwe Mdakane, which indeed revitalised Zulu culture and left the audience screaming for more.
The following week the second group, under the theme Soul of Africa, featured Mr Ayanda Dlamini, Ms Philisiwe Fakude and Mr Philani Thabethe who believe that their song and dance performances is representative of many different parts of Africa.
Their concert included original compositions and choreography with a modern twist of classic African rhythms. Audiences experienced the Ghetto dance choreographed by Dlamini and an arrangement of Afro Gospel (Isigqi) by Dlamini; Is’cathamiya music and the Slow Modern uMzansi dance, both composed by Thabethe and percussion pieces by him with a central African flavour. One of the concert highlights was Fakude’s dance Ingoma-Shiyameni.
The final group depicted the theme Articulating our African Culture, featured Ms Thandeka Cele, Mr Syanda Gumede, Ms Zanele Gcwabaza and Ms Thobile Mbanjwa.
Some of their performances included a percussion segment, African Modern Dance and the riveting performance of the umakhweyana bow by Gcwabaza.
Looking back at the concerts, Dr Patricia Opondo said she was proud of how much the students achieved and remarked on the incredible creative talents and professionalism exhibited by the students in putting each of their shows together, including the costuming. ‘The theatre was packed each week and it was heart-warming to see the large support the AMD concerts get from the audience,’ she said.
Thabethe was overjoyed and remarked, ‘I am grateful for the inspiration I received from my colleagues, and this indeed raised the level of artistry in all our concerts.’
Expressing their gratitude, Mbanjwa said, ‘We thank our co-ordinator and Lecturer Dr Patricia Opondo for giving us this opportunity to showcase our talents and to become better performers. We also thank our AMD students for putting this show together and to all those that continue to support us and our performances.’