AFTER making it into Bulawayo’s Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival provincial finals for four years in a row, all-female arts ensemble Thandanani Traditional Dancers, are still to get the sole ticket to go and quench their success thirst at the national finals.
In their debut appearance (2016), second (2017) and third (2018) at the provincial dance event the women came out in position two missing their intended target by a whisker for three consecutive years.
Only last Saturday, at provincial Chibuku Neshamwari event that featured eight groups after two ensembles failed to turn up at Manor Hotel, the 10-member group, which was robbed of their eleventh member Sihle Ndlovu who died early this year, watched in disbelief when their so-near-yet-so-far story further developed.
They played second fiddle , coming out as second runners-up in a competition that saw 2017 national winners, Ezimnyama Dance Ensemble, emerging winners and in the process getting the right to represent Bulawayo at this year’s national finals set for Kadoma in August.
“We are very much hopeful that one day we will make it to the national finals. The mere recognition means that we are doing well at an event where we compete with young and energetic artistes. Our group is made up of aging women but our day will come,” said the group’s secretary Lydia Sibanda.
For their efforts, Ezimnyama Dance Ensemble walked away $1 000 richer while second-placed Unlenje and Bambanani Women Ensemble who came third received $800 and $600 respectively. Other groups which participated in the provincial contest were Ibutho Lesizwe, Snippers, Iluba Lemvelo, Black Tigers and Jaiva Traditional group
Other members that make up the Njube-based Bambanani Traditional Dancers are Gladys Dube (overseer), Tholakele Ndlovu (chairperson), Regina Moyo (treasurer) Monica Dengura, Sikhanyisiwe Ngwenya, Jennifer Moyo, Sithokozile Sibanda, Sikhathaziwe Sibanda and Nomaswazi Mathwasa.
They are all aged between 40 and 65 and they rehearse once every Wednesday at Njube’s Salukazi Beer Garden.
On Saturday, the Chibuku Neshamwari provincial finals for Mashonaland East will be held in Marondera followed by Matabeleland South finals next Saturday at Maloxo Beerhall in Beitbridge.