Did you know?
Ikabawo means 'my brother' or 'my cousin', a name chosen because it alludes to the brotherhood of all Africans and is understood in various Nguni languages.
The Durban-based Ikabawo Dance Group comprises eight young Zulu men who’re entrancing local audiences with their unique brand of energetic and creative dance.
Although every member of the dance troupe is Zulu, their dancing is informed by various African cultures, and displays distinct Malawian and Angolan influences.
The 'Ikabawo boys' as they are fondly known, are regular entertainers at Moyo restaurant on Durban’s beachfront where their singing, dancing and drumming add to the ethnic dining experience.
Moyo forms part of the uShaka Marine World theme park which includes the largest aquarium in the southern hemisphere with penguins, dolphins, seals, 'dangerous creatures' such as snakes and a rides-and-slides water park.
The laid-back, African-themed eatery overlooks uShaka Beach and includes a mini-me pub version of the popular Moyo restaurant chain on a pier extending out into the ocean. Music is an important part of the Moyo offering and Ikabawo never fails to deliver.
The young dancers are also in demand at weddings and formal dinners, but it’s their performances for international cruise ship visitors that showcase what African dance is all about.
'Talent is one thing but you need to work extremely hard at rehearsals if you’re going to be really, really good,' says Sabelo Ngema, who created the dance group with his friend, Sergeant Malishe. Both come from performing arts backgrounds where each has garnered entertainment awards. The duo owns Ikabawa Entertainment, an eventing, recording and music production company.
Malishe grew up in Umlazi township outside Durban while Ngema was born on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal in Zululand. Ngema is related to Mbongeni Ngema, a legendary South African musician, producer and playwright.
Ngema is upbeat about Durban and its entertainment prospects. With great weather all year round and friendly people, he describes the seaside city as the 'Promised Land'.
'Everyone should come to Durban – and, of course, to see Ikabawo.'