Since it was founded in year 2000, Inkululeko Yabatsha School of Arts (Iyasa) was meant to be Bulawayo’s cultural and dance pride as it was built on a foundation meant to be of excellence.
Nineteen years down the line, the dance ensemble is still striving to produce the best dancers Bulawayo has ever seen, this time in Newman Takawira and Lethokuhle Ncube.
They both scooped accolades for Outstanding Male Dancer and Outstanding Female Dancer respectively, at the third edition of the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards (RoilBAA).
The group itself (Iyasa) got an award for Outstanding Contemporary Dance Ensemble.
The 22-year-old Lethokuhle Ncube revealed that she knew one day that she would be crowned the Best Female Dancer as she believed dancing was an in-born thing to her.
“I realised that I had a passion for dancing when I was still at Mkhithika Primary School where I was part of the school’s traditional dance group which participated at the Jikinya Traditional Dance Competitions and we did well.
“After that I then worked towards moulding myself because I wanted to be the best dancer in Bulawayo.
Luckily I then joined Iyasa who helped me in crafting my skills that made me to be noticeable in winning the RoilBAA award,” said Ncube.
As for Newman Takawira, the story seems to be different as he was already a professional artiste before joining Iyasa, something that made the Makokoba-bred artiste a favourite among the Outstanding Male Dancer contenders.
“I joined the now defunct Siyaya dance ensemble in 2008. After that I moved to join Iyasa and that is where most of my craft as a dancer was moulded.
I am grateful that I scooped the award because to me it signifies growth as a dancer and I am now aiming for more awards especially on the international stage,” said Takawira.
Founder of Iyasa Nkululeko Dube revealed that not only Newman and Lethokuhle were winners but the group’s accolade for Outstanding Contemporary Dance Ensemble proved that all the Iyasa members were the best dancers in Bulawayo.
“I am very proud of Newman and Lethokuhle, their win is a sign that they are hard workers and they deserve the awards.
For them to be recognised it was team work because without working with the whole team the nominations were going to be impossible.
“I am also happy for the whole group for becoming the best at the RoilBAA and we are going to continue working hard to maintain our status,” said Dube.
Meanwhile, Iyasa has been nominated for Outstanding Music category at the annually held Austrian Stella Awards for music in their international co-production Radio Freedom with Theatre Ansicht and Next Liberty Graz.
Nkululeko Dube is hopeful they will add the award to their display.