I had the most amazing weekend! I have no idea how I was lucky enough to learn of the festival since no one I work with was aware of it happening...until they saw a news story on TV after the fact. However, my friend, Dot, was told about it by her principal and told Wanda and me about it on Friday. What, you may well ask, is "it". The Zindala Zombili is an annual national festival of indigenous music, dance and crafts. This year, it was held here, at the Mmabatho Convention Centre, all last week, culminating in a two day festival of dance on Saturday and Sunday. Competitions were held across the country during the past year and only the very finest dance groups from all nine provinces (and guest groups from Botswana, Swaziland and Mozambique) performed here. Every culture was represented by at least two groups. Most of the cultures have several distinctive dances, for instance, one for maidens, one for warriors, one for old women, etc. I swear, I saw them all and got photos, too, though the photos could be better since the dances were all performed on a dark stage and I was in the audience.
I went with Dot and Wanda on Saturday and we were there bright and early only to wait for an hour or so for it to begin. Since we were the only Whites in the audience, we were asked if we would like VIP seating and Wanda accepted immediately. It embarrasses me to be singled out, but I guess we would stick out like sore thumbs...our tufts of white hair in the midst of all that black hair. It was lovely, however, to sit at the front and be able to take the photos at will. On Sunday, I went alone (with my VIP pass in hand), an hour later, and it started pretty much as I got there. This time, I was the only White person there. I was talking to several people at lunch and we noted that this is truly still two countries. I was told that White people aren't interested. They have no idea what they are missing, then, as I am still floating on a cloud of joy. It was truly wonderful. I've included some photos of the dancers. Enjoy!