So today I have asked Msizeni Mngadi who is a Team Leader to tell us more about the group and the tremendous amount of work needed to keep Indlondlo Zulu dancers performing.
Msizeni, how many members are there in the group and what are the ages of the dancers?
We have 31 members, their age group starts from 12 to 23 with 10 girls and 21 boys.
How long has the group been performing?
The group was formed in 2010 and we have been growing since then.
Do you all have families involved in traditional dance or were you introduced to it at Masijabule High School?
All our members have families that are involved in the traditional dancing as part of our culture. Although I was personally involved in Zulu dancing at Masijabule High School, performing this dance has been part of my life. We normally celebrate with these types of performances in our society. We can’t think of any other way of showing our happiness than doing the Zulu dance. At Indlondo, we fine-tuned and collaborated different styles of performances for different occasions. All the group members have been part of Zulu dancing in high school as well.
Some of the sequences appear to be very complicated and with so many in the group it must take hours of practice – how often do you get together?
Yes, it’s very complicated and fascinating, as I’ve highlighted that the group was established five years ago, we have been practicing this art and fine-tuning it over the years. Most of our members are close neighbors so we meet and do our practice four days a week from 15.00pm till 17.00pm.
The costumes, of course, look amazing – and authentic. Do you have a team working on these?
We buy the costumes from the professional people who make them.
Are your routines based on historical Zulu dances or have you added your own elements to the performance?
All our moves symbolize something in Zulu culture and traditional Zulu warriors. We have of course incorporated some new flair in the mix but not much because that might dilute the originality of the dance.
Do you have live musicians to provide the backing?
The backing music is done by the performing group itself. In our culture, one should be able to do almost everything, especially with singing and dancing. So, there are no backing musicians but everything is done by the performers.
You have played to very large audiences as well as at smaller events – perhaps you can give us some of the highlights for the group?
The most exciting highlight for the Indlondlo Zulu Dancers was in 2012 when Ethekwini Municipality organized performances from different activities to welcome guests at King Shaka International Airport for the 2012 African Nations Cup soccer tournament. We performed in front of huge audiences and shared the stage with famous DJ’s, singers and other cultural groups. We also did performances at Gugu Dlamini Park on different days during the tournament and tourists loved our cultural display.
LINKS – it would be great if you could follow the group on the following links to give them a wider audience.
If you have any contacts for Dance performance in South Africa or Europe then please do forward the post.
My thanks to Msizeni for taking the time out for the interview with work, practice and performing all the group has a busy schedule.