Murewa to host Jerusarema Mbende Dance Fes­ti­val

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Entertainment - Show­biz Re­porter

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.

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