Con­verse He­roes in bid to re­vive Pantsula

Lesotho Times - - Entertainment - Mo­halenyane Phakela

VO­DA­COM Su­per­stars 2015 dance cat­e­gory win­ners, Con­verse He­roes, say they will soon open a dance academy to re­vive the Pantsula dance form in the coun­try.

Con­verse He­roes walked away M70 000 richer af­ter clinch­ing the top prize in the fi­nale of the Vo­da­com Su­per­stars tal­ent search com­pe­ti­tion held on 10 Oc­to­ber 2015. In ad­di­tion to the cash prize, the Khu­bet­soana-based group will also per­form in a video by South African pro­ducer Oskido’s Kalawa Jazzmee record la­bel.

The all-male trio con­sists of Mo­lao Monyane, Mo­hale Mon­tšo and Keketso Lephoto. Monyane, who is the group’s founder, told the Week­ender this week that Con­verse He­roes was formed in 2010 to pro­mote the Pantsula dance form.

“Af­ter fin­ish­ing my Form E in 2010, I ap­proached Keketso and Mo­hale, who were still in high school at the time, and pro­posed that we form this group,” said Monyane.

Monyane said since its for­ma­tion, Con­verse He­roes had stayed true to their cho­sen dance form, and worked tire­lessly to en­sure they made a mark in the cut­throat en­ter­tain­ment industry.

Pantsula is a highly en­er­getic dance form that orig­i­nated in the black town­ships of South Africa dur­ing the Apartheid era. Orig­i­nally re­fer­ring to a style of dress, it soon evolved into a cul­tural ex­pres­sion and later into a dance form.

The cul­ture of Pantsula was com­monly as­so­ci­ated with tsot­sis (gang­sters) in the six­ties and sev­en­ties, but has mor­phed into a form of so­cial com­men­tary which has un­der­gone sev­eral trans­for­ma­tions.

“I have been a fan of Pantsula for a very long time, and am de­voted to the dance form,” he said.

“I also want to cor­rect the mis­con­cep­tion that Pantsula is syn­ony­mous with crooks and show that it is a genre for ta­lented peo­ple.

“We have of­ten faced dis­crim­i­na­tion by some peo­ple who thought we were crim­i­nals, to the ex­tent of be­ing de­nied en­try at cer­tain events. Some of the peo­ple would think we were there to cause trou­ble, but we did not de­spair be­cause we knew that one day they would see us for who we are.”

The Pantsula dance form, Monyane said, was unique in its abil­ity to com­bine en­ter­tain­ment and ed­u­ca­tion.

“As peo­ple mar­vel at the fren­zied move­ments of legs and arms, they also get to learn about im­por­tant so­cial is­sues,” he said.

“For in­stance, we have per­formed in a HIV/AIDS aware­ness cam­paign in which we showed young peo­ple that the pan­demic kills through dance. The au­di­ence loved our per­for­mance which was both en­ter­tain­ing and ed­u­cat­ing.”

Monyane noted that their main ob­jec­tive was to re­vive the Pantsula dance form and be­come choreographers.

“We will use the M70 000 we won in the Vo­da­com Su­per­stars to open a dance academy which will help keep young peo­ple learn new skills and keep them off the streets where they end up com­mit­ting crime,” he said.

Monyane added that with such op­por­tuni- ties as the Vo­da­com Su­per­stars, it was pos­si­ble for dance to be­come a ca­reer choice.

“We urge young peo­ple not to take their tal­ents for granted be­cause it can take them to places they had never imag­ined just like it has done for us,” he said.

“Imag­ine that we will soon fea­ture in a South African mu­sic video which is a great achieve­ment for peo­ple from the hum­ble sur­round­ings of Khu­bet­soana.”

VO­DA­COM Su­per­stars 2015 dance cat­e­gory win­ners Con­verse He­roes.

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