Senior Arts Reporter
Mbende Jerusarema Traditional Dance Festival roars into life on Friday, as more than 10 schools and five traditional groups drawn from Mashonaland East Province meet at Murehwa Cultural Centre for the annual event. Murehwa Cultural Centre acting manager Ronald Diza said preparations for the festival were at an advanced stage with most groups having confirmed their participation.
“Most of the participating groups have confirmed their participation at this year’s edition and we are expecting more groups to register with us.
“This year’s competition will be held for one day, although we have other programmes that will be held on Saturday, which are in line with the festival,” he said.
Diza said participating schools will battle for honours with Goromonzi-based 2010 Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance competition winners Ngoma Dzepasi expected to lead events in the seniors’ group category.
“The core reason of holding such an event is to try and preserve the cultural heritage of people from Murehwa and surrounding areas. This is why we have schools competing as a way of motivating them.
“We also have Yarira yaMangwende, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services’ Mbende Pasichigare, Shingirai Jerusarema and Maungira eJapajapa performing on the day.
“This time around we decided to have a limited number of performing groups so that each group will have an opportunity to showcase its talent,” he said.
Diza also said that the newly installed Chief Mangwende will be the guest of honour at a function where all traditional leaders have been invited.
“Over the past years, the event was being managed by locals, but because of unexpected challenges related to coordination, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe decided to chip in and take charge of the events.
“Once everything is back on track, the event will be given back to the locals,” he said.
The festival will be running under the theme “Community Empowerment Through Dance”.