Third time lucky as Manicaland group wins Chibuku dance contest
BEN Arinoti dancers from Redwing Mine in Manicaland are this year’s winners of Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival finals held at White City Stadium in Bulawayo on Saturday and walked away with $7,000.
The group from the mine which is in Mutasa district beat Bulawayo’s Sekunjalo MaAfrica who came second and bagged $5,000 while Harare’s Maramuro Gure was third and won $3,000.
Tupele Mdala, Redwing Mine director said his group was delighted to win the competition after having tried its luck three times.
“We were well prepared for the competition and we knew the victory was ours. We were determined to take the accolade home and we’re happy we accomplished that,” said Mdala.
Performing in front of a big crowd that converged at the Stadium for the finals, the group clad in white and navy blue police-like uniforms, impressed judges and music lovers with their energetic dances.
In the Ben Arinoti dance, men take the lead role with the leader clad in a captain’s sash, blowing the whistle while others beat drums with female dancers cheering them from the sidelines. The dance is popular in Malawi and was popularised locally by Redwing Mine workers in Mutasa district after they realised that there was no entertainment at the mine.
It was a battle of mining towns dances at this year’s finals as Ben Arinoti, Zambia Nyau and Gule Wamkulu were most popular.
Sekunjalo MaAfrica director Arnold Ndebele said he was happy at being second describing the competition as stiff. The group performed the Umzansi – a South African dance from Kwazulu Natal. It is a mixture of Isichatamiya, Isishameni and isiBhaca.
“We’re overjoyed by coming second. We tried our best to take the prize but we were beaten by Redwing Mine group. The competition was tough as the groups were very good. Coming second isn’t bad,” Ndebele said.
He said they would use their prize money to buy equipment for the group and also invest in income generating projects.
Ben Arinoti dancers on stage at White City Stadium in Bulawayo