We drive into a family compound in the Mahenye village to watch two dance teams display their prowess, before they head off to the Harare Carnival…The painted huts are a delight….I am always struck by the beauty and intensity of the colour that the artists achieve with natural earth and ash pigments.
The dancers are ready, impatient to begin. From the very old to the very young, this is a revered tradition and is a family affair, young lads and girls learning the intricate and symbolic moves from their elders.
Body adornment adds to the power of the dancers….
Clive leans against a fallen tree, waiting for the action and flanked by “tree children”…
Culture is paramount in Changana village life, and a dance such as this draws keen interest from youngsters.
A brightly wrapped woman carries a drum on her head, heading for the dance area…
Dust and the setting sun combine to create a spectacular backdrop to the action.
The full beaded skirts of the women create a swirl of brilliant colour,
Porcupine quills and rattles are the trademark of the lead dancer, a venerable elder who lives for his dance…he has been dancing in this group for as long as I have known them, over 15 years, and he seemed ancient when I first watched him all those years ago! Even now, as he sits waiting the next round of dancing to begin, he seems beyond dancing, beyond the intense energy needed to sustain the physical stamina needed for the dance…but I know from experience that as the drums start, and as the women start their energizing song, his body will transform and bend and twist with all the energy of a visionary. Years of instinct and experience will shine through his every move….
A sunset backed by a monumental baobab in the Mahenye Village, marks the end of the satisfying day……