Friday, April 29, 2016

Dancing has its roots in Africa (PARTS OF MY FIRST ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN 1996)


stock-vector-african-musicians-dance-and-play-the-drums-249069073
Inu mayi ee, bwera, bwera ee, Sungamwana ee, uzamudalise ee….inu mayi ee, bwera, bwera ee” (oh you our mother yes, come, come yes, Keep the Child yes, bless this one yes….). –  part of a sacred Dziwe la Nkhalamba song by elders who held suspected Mibawa canes or walking sticks which might be a type of African Mahogany in English.
They would tap on the ground three times while moving their feet in rhythm with the sacred music while the seeds they wore around their ankles added more beats.
Music has been defined as the art of combining sounds or sequences of notes into harmonious patterns.  One tends to wonder if music can affect one’s soul which is the seat of emotion, sentiment and aspiration through dance, a movement of measured steps.

Dziwe pool
It took me more than an hour to walk up to Dziwe la Nkhalamba on a hot day so I had to rest twice as it was exhausting but worth seeing where elders used to dance and sing to summon a spirit called Chinsinsi Sungamwana they believed was in a pool to appear

Most countries in Africa use music in traditional rituals and rites to invoke various spirits which possess a host’s body, usually the dancer.
Drums are the main but not only instrument used, with the talking drum being dominant, conveying messages with each beat.  Only trained dancers and drummers would be able to comprehend the message projected.
Drums are common in Malawian traditional music with both men and women using these instruments.  Various dances are performed in rural areas for different occasions from maganje, nsembe to festive celebrations.
In the Northern region Vimbuza is a common dance in which spirits possess the body which shakes violently while using all muscles while following the beat of the music.
Only one who is guided by the spirit can perform this dance.  Watching vimbuza one can see some similarities with the 1980s craze which was known as break-dancing.  There was a certain movement in which one would shake the whole body from head to toe as if having a fit or being possessed.break-dance-silhouettes-file-eps-format-35775081
These were the robot and wave where one behaved as if they were having an electric shock.
Gule Wamkulu the secretive masked spirit dancers from Malawi were said to be sexually explicit in that song but no confirmation but anyway during the Kamuzu days till democracy many traditional songs became politicized with some even worshipping leaders.
Some can see some similarities between Michael Jackson’s  hit video ‘Thriller’ and some of Africa’s sacred masked dancers including the way he seemed to grab his front the way pop-star Madonna also did.
The yells and screams are also similar to some of Africa’s masked dancers so one can definitely conclude dancing has its roots in Africa with it touching the soul of the continent. Thriller

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Took this picture of children in Milange, Mozambique admiring visiting Malawian children

Tracing footsteps to lead me home

Greetings from the Warm Heart Africa, Malawi.

I'm a Malawian journalist who grew up in many countries including South Africa, Belgium, then West Germany, UK, Washington DC and New York in the US and I love New York.

Trying to come up with the production of my life and by compiling some of my 1000 poems into a book called ‘Tracing Footsteps’ to lead me Home with excellent photography.

I also plan to film award winning documentaries based on the history of this ancient land called Malawi and the mysteries of Sapitwa and the Sirius star.

.....watch this space.


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