Cultural dance events in South Africa
Did you know?
A mythological figure whose name, Zulu, means heaven, lent his moniker to the South African nation known for its war dancing, called umghubha.
In South Africa, dance culture plays a significant role in providing a historic perspective that is nowhere showcased on a larger scale than during the Royal Reed Dance.
Held annually in September outside eNyokeni, the Zulu King's ancestral home in Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal, Umkhosi woMhlanga is a deeply significant cultural festival for the biggest ethnic group in South Africa, and a spectacle to behold for those attending this auspicious event in Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
The gathering of about 25 000 virgin women, in celebration of purity, is a highlight on the cultural calendar and an age-old example of how culture dance events in South Africa is used to inculcate core values.
There's no doubt that the dance culture of South Africa is made up of everything and everyone, including their respective backgrounds and the sub-cultural influences that have played a role in shaping this country.
Johannesburg, for example, is famous for its gumboot dancing, a favourite pastime of migrant miners with strong war-like nuances to remind performers of their hard-fought-for hinterland.
Much further to the south of South Africa's industrial powerhouse and the seat of the Zulu monarchy lies Mossel Bay, South Africa's only north-facing port city. It is here that South African cultural dance displays another diverse event with the annual gathering of Afrikaans volkspele participants. Named after Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias, the annual bouquet of bonnets at the Diasfees must be the biggest blossoming of its kind in the world.
Elsewhere, the Moving into Dance Mophatong Performance Company and regional radio stations such as Phalaphala FM do phenomenal work in gathering together dancers from different ethnic traditions at cultural dance events in South Africa.
One such South African cultural dance event, held up north in Makhado, a town formerly named after a leading Voortrekker, Louis Trichardt, saw Xitsonga, Sepedi, and Tshivenda dancers battle it out in a rhythmic skirmish that was the talk of the town for weeks!
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0) 35 4744919
Tel: +27 (0) 11 340 8000
Tel: +27 (0) 21 410-9800
National Arts Festival
Tel: +27 (0) 46 603 1103