How my people dance


I’m third from left, with a Xhosa dancing group

I recently attended Ubuntu Cultural Celebration in Pretoria, South Africa. The event showcased different ethnic groups through dance, music and traditional attire. I feel strongly about celebrating what is uniquely South African and African, so this was right up my alley.

I was particularly mesmerised by the female dancers. Their beauty, confidence and how sensual they looked as they gyrated their bodies. They looked so liberated (here’s a link to a video showing some of the dances –

Dancing has always played an important role in cultures throughout the African continent. It’s a form of communication that is used to express emotions such as joy, sadness, grief, hope and love through rhythmic movements.

Zulu dancers
BaSotho dancers with their signature blankets and straw hats

The most widely used music instrument in Africa is the drum. Dancers follow the rhythm of the drumbeat; it is the heartbeat of the dance.

We dance to mark and celebrate important life experiences such as birth, initiation, weddings and harvest. Through dance people are able to connect with ancestors and honour kings and queens. Dancing gives community members a sense of belonging and shows solidarity. In addition, it’s a form of escape from the harsh realities of life. It’s easy to lose yourself in the music and dance and go into a trance like state.

I walked away feeling like the weight of life’s burdens had been lifted off my shoulders!

Final Brenda
Members of another Xhosa dancing group
The bells around their waists made beautiful sounds when they danced