Murewa to host Jerusarema Mbende Dance Festival
THE NATIONAL Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) will this year hand over the Jerusarema Mbende Dance Festival to the Murewa community as a way of empowering local communities through arts and culture.
The festival, held to preserve the Mbende Jerusarema dance and to promote awareness of the value of the dance will this year be held on October 28 in Mashonaland East province and will be organised by National Training and Conference of the Arts in Zimbabwe (NATCAZ) and NACZ.
The national arts body is part of the organisers of this year’s festival so as to ensure a smooth transition and continuity when the event is handed over to the Murewa community.
NACZ communications and marketing officer Cathrine Mthombeni said the decision was made after consultations with Chief Mangwende recently.
“A meeting was held between NACZ with Chief Mangwende to initiate the handover process and the idea was well accepted. This is consistent with NACZ and the Government’s vision of empowering local communities through arts and culture,” said Mthombeni.
She said NACZ took pride in ensuring that the Murewa and Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe communities greatly benefit from the festival.
“The handing over of the festival is NACZ’s vision to ensure Murewa community continue to embrace, promote and safeguard Jerusarema Mbende which is a critical intangible cultural heritage element within the Murewa community,” said Mthombeni.
She said this was not the first time they had handed over a festival to locals.
“This is the latest community empowerment through arts and culture that NACZ has done after handing over other festivals in the past. Some of the handed festivals include, Intwasa KoBulawayo (Bulawayo), Rainbow Arts Festival (Matabeleland South), and Dzimbabwe Arts Festival (Masvingo),” said Mthombeni.
Mbende Jerusarema Dance was proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity with Murewa Culture Centre acting as the reference place for safeguarding purposes. It is performed by the community of Murewa and Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe in Mashonaland East.
The ancient fertility dance was called dembe or mbende, a Shona word for “mole” which signified fertility and hence the dance became very popular with the locals.