Matesu Dube

UMKHATHI Theatre Works director Matesu Dube has urged youths to embrace art such as dance, saying it defined culture.

Umkhathi, which won the Outstanding Dance Group award at the recently held National Arts Merit Awards (Nama), specialises in theatre arts, traditional dance and music.

This year the group celebrates its silver jubilee in showbiz.

“Traditional dancing is one of our core activities at Umkhathi Theatre Works. We perform Zimbabwean traditional and contemporary dances,” he said.

“Traditional dances define us as a people. This is the case because each traditional dance belongs to a certain tribe. I have a passion for traditional dance as it is an intangible cultural heritage which keeps people entertained. It is our duty as young people to preserve these dances and pass them on to the next generation.”

Dube said through their Nama award-winning show Footprints, they sought to instil a sense of pride by telling Ndebele people’s history through  dance.

Footprints tells a story about the Ndebele people. The show (Footprints) is a story on how music and dance developed. Footprints is composed of Ndebele and Kalanga dances to umdadada, ingquzu, isitshikitsha and imbube music,” he said.

“The award is a recognition that Footprints is one of the best dance acts produced in Zimbabwe. It shows that our works are being recognised in Zimbabwe.”

Dube said his ensemble had written a success story despite several challenges it faced.

“There are many challenges that we face in the arts industry. It is difficult to secure rehearsal space with proper lighting and sound system so that our acts are on point before we take them to the audience,” he said.

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