By Priscilla Mukokobi
Amid a flurry of contemporary dance moves taking centre stage among Namibian youth, a revolution to bring back the best of sikokoshi dance is unfolding in the Zambezi region.
Sikokoshi is a traditional dance that used to dominate the Zambezi region in the 90s and has been somewhat forgotten by the advent of contemporary music and dance.
Sikokoshi largely popular among the inhabitants of the Zambezi region is associated with energetic dance and waist wiggling among both women and men and is one of the many rare treats of the entertainment vibe of Zambezi region.
So what prompted the return of this dance?
businessman Sylvester Simubali who has been steering the Sikokoshi revolution in the Zambezi by hosting a number of dance competitions to turn back the hands of time for the many lovers in Katima Mulilo said he is determined to keep the dance relent among the Caprivian people.
“Sikokoshi began way back when we were still young. I remember many of my age could dance sikokoshi for fate cakes on Christmas eve,” Simubali said.
Sikokoshi remains part of our tradition in the Zambezi region and it is unfortunate that the young and born frees are forgetting our culture because of the advent of the internet as well as exposure to other cultures. In fact, most of the young people from here are forgetting their culture and adapting to the western culture,” he said.
Simubali said he and many of his folks decided to roll back the hands of two years ago to create a sikokoshi revolution that will bring back the popular dance to the fore prompting competitions both in the Zambezi regions as well as many other in Windhoek at popular nightspot Chez Ntemba.
“Nowadays youth are into Amapiano, Kwaito and house music. It is not in the Zambezi region only but everywhere and we see it every day,” he said.
Perhaps the glamour of hope for many lovers of this dance in the Zambezi region and I that the competition has provided a platform to showcase talents for many although living out of this skill is still farfetched.
The queen of Sikokoshi in Katima Mulilo, Manga Kalundu who has been on the throne of for the past two years encouraged many young people from Katima Mulilo to continue showing interest in their culture.
“I was so happy when I entered the competition even though I didn’t know my competitors. When I heard of the prize money on offer I could not resist but entering the competition because I knew it presented me with a chance to win money and also showcase my talent,” she said.
The waist wiggling queen also added that “We are not benefiting anything from this festival, but we are just reviving our culture. In fact, it represents our culture and we want small kids to follow the old route. We don’t want our culture to fade away.”
The recent wave around the dance has seen an annual festival being organised to keep interested among the local folk, this has not been without its challenges though as financing continues to pull back the efforts made.