A Song, A Dance, And A Beating Drum

If you’re looking to take a deep dive into traditional South African cultures, experience elements of African spirituality, dance into the night and learn how to cook over an open fire, a visit to the Shabalala Interpretation of Culture Centre (SICC) should be high on your bucket list.

The centre opened its doors to tourism stakeholders – and I got a taste of what guests can expect from Hazyview’s latest tourism product.   

Upon arrival, guests were presented with a treat for the palate in the form of timbambe, a rich peanut and maize snack reminiscent of coarse artisanal peanut butter. Thereafter, we were ushered towards the homestead where we had to announce ourselves by calling out and awaiting an invitation to enter as is customary in a siSwati home.

The show kicked off in the kraal, the centre’s amphitheatre, with ukukosha kwemaSwati esibayeni, which is a traditional siSwati welcome dance performed by men. The graceful vigour, poised aggression and seamless agility of the performers all interwoven with threads of delicate footwork made this performance a sight to behold.

Female dancers soon swayed across the stage in a deft dance sequence that was complemented by a rainbow of colours, making this performance a feast for the eyes. Other acts included an array of traditional dancing and praise singing drawing from the siSwati and isiZulu cultures.

I had the opportunity to mingle with the performers and was left awestruck at the considerable work that goes into preparing for each show. From making and coordinating their outfits, to rehearsing, brewing umqombothi, setting up for the evening and then cleaning afterwards, every person contributes to the success of the evening. This not only entrenches the spirit of community, but also invokes the cultural concept of Ubuntu that underpins Africanness.

It is this very essence of Africanness prevalent in this region that the SICC aims to interpret and preserve, according to director Mr Goodman Nkosi.

The most notable aspect that I observed must be the distinguished raw cultural authenticity of this centre. It’s evident in how it coexists with neighbouring homesteads and how the performers curate a genuinely interactive evening for guests.

Experience something different on you next Panorama Rout tour, and let the SICC sweep you up in song and dance while captivating you with electric energy that will pulsate through every fibre of your being.

What are you waiting for? For booking and pricing information, contact the Shabalala Interpretation Centre on 072 439 9117.

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