Musicians, beware of traditional dancers!

Windhoek-Those who are familiar with traditional dancers such as Jota Hengua, Kanane Puriza, Ndauoo Tjituka, and lately Pevangua Muuondjo, may feel good times will never return for these dancers.

They might say that the time has come to say farewell to traditional dances such as Omuhiva (male) and Outjina (female).

As much as many of us may not have had the privilege of listening to these well-known traditional dancers, except for Muuondjo, attending a traditional dance extravaganza last Saturday must have surely changed that perception.

On offer were the likes of Kuruha Nganjone and Raseuatjo Viakondo � both of whom need little introduction, especially to those fond of these dances, and not to mention Uaetua Kandiimuine.

The latter two are of this age � part of the younger generation, thus guaranteeing that Omuhiva remains far from dead because they have more than proven that they have taken over the baton and can carry on the tradition.

There is no going wrong for them while they have the benefit of veterans such as Nganjone and of course Rihungira Kandjeo to take their cues from.

This was my first introduction to Kandjeo, and despite having watched and listened to the likes of Nganjone and Viakondo, he still left me thinking that there was something I have been missing all along; that without him the picture could not be complete.

Another first for me on the night was Karombo Upingasana, a.k.a. Something, and Kavesutu Katjipi.

As usual the inimitable, formidable team of Katjipi dancers were not keen on leading the pack, but have established themselves as a good chorusing team, and they could not but make their presence felt on the occasion.

In this age of Chop My Money ala the Nigerian singing duo, P-Square, one would have thought that traditional dances are no longer in vogue. Wrong!

Not, with the likes of Nganjone, Kandjeo, Viakondo, Kandiimuine, Upingasana and Katjipi still around to give the P-Squares, and surely the Mshashos and Gazzas of this world a run for their money.

Few would have thought that there is anything entertaining about these traditional dances, which are mostly associated with occasions such as traditional weddings.

But the dances on this particular night proved that both omuhiva and outjina are intrinsically entertaining, even in the absence of a wedding.

The fact that there are still those prepared to part with a N$40 just to see their favourite dancers is testimony to this.

For the veterans like Nganjone and Kandjeo, whose voices have seen many a dancing night, and whose voices may no longer be that loud yet audible, the magic lies in the feet-stamping. Not that there is much extravaganza in the feet -stamping.

Extravaganza is not the essence of the art, but rather the synchronization of the feet with the chorus and handclapping of the female dancers.

An art with its own unique qualities, the chorus handclapping and the chorus singing by the female dancers complements the dancing either by the males or females dancers.

In fact, they often say that dancing alone cannot, and does not, make either dances whether omuhiva or outjina complete without the crescendos of chorusing that go along with handclapping, which is an integral part of it.

Cool and calculated in their feet-stamping, preceded by their gravelly voices resembling some griots.

Griots usually perform praise-singing about one or other aspect of the socio-economic and cultural lives of their communities, which have historically been based on pastoralism.

The veteran dancers, Nganjone and Kandjeo and of course Upingasana and Kavesutu, were a spectre of their own uniqueness on the night.

Especially when pitted against each other with Nganjone joining Kandjeo in the centre, which to the newcomers to this dance would have resembled the two challenging each other while the two were just engaged in a duet.

The same with Upingansana and Kavesutu, who in a confrontation imitative of a bull fight, were in essence just in an outjina duet.

As if the offerings from the veteran male and female dancers were not enough on the night, enter the youthful dancers of Viakondo and Kandiimuine centre stage with their own youthful dancing antics and theatrics.

Surely with such offerings from traditional dancers, who could be bothered with the Mshashos, Gazzas, Big Bens, Mutjangatjikes, Blossoms, Oteyas, Boss Madams, New Generation and Uatunguas of this world?

But of all of them, the Mutjangatjikes, often seen as representing culture, cannot help but keeping looking back over their shoulders for these traditional dancers.

The Ombimbi dancers, all things being equal, especially when it comes to the financial wherewithal, are expected to form part of the 110th Anniversary gathering of South Africans of Namibian descent this weekend.

Their kinsmen from Botswana and Namibia will join them in Lephalale in the Limpopo Province of South Africa to commemorate the arrival of Samuel Maharero and his people in the then Transvaal 110 years ago.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia