The heritage celebration concert, called Ngwao YaRona (Our Heritage), showcased a variety of cultural performances from the indigenous cultures of South Africa.
The opening performance was a Zulu poem by Pamela Shange which spoke of diversity within the different cultures of South Africa, and the unity among South Africans within this diversity.
One of the acts that stood out on the evening was the Ndebele ladies. They were met with ululations and cheers of approval from the audience as they led in with “Ubaba uyagwazi ugyenzi imali” (which means “dad knows how to make money”).
The interval featured an instrumental piece which was more calm but just as entertaining as the acts that preceded it. The rest of the evening included a Tsonga act, where the ladies vigorously moved the traditional skirt (called a Xibelani) and the men an imitation of it, as well as a depiction of the Sotho culture which included an oration by one of the male performers.
The performance came full circle as it ended with an intense Zulu traditional dance of ugugida which carried the message of conquering and overcoming obstacles. This act received a standing ovation.
The entire production depicted the male and female dancers within the various cultures but also showed how they complement each other. “[The objective of the performance is to show that] even though there is internal segregation in our cultures based on gender, our heritage enables us to find a platform together, despite our differences, through our diversity,” said Reginald Masemola, a BCom Law student and a member of Ovuwa.
There were a few notable faces in the crowd such as the defence advisor of the British High Commission John McCardle, who described the performance as “brilliant” and said that he enjoyed the variety of the different tribal dances.