Learning the Tsonga Traditional Xibelani Dance

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One of the major highlights in mentoring youth for me is the gift of sharing each others lives.  During the summer holiday month of December here in South Africa, I had the opportunity to join Masingita Masunga’ foundation for a 6 day life skills workshop with orphaned youth in Limpopo.  We ended the workshops last days in the village of Xihosana at the home were most of the children live with their caretaker, Ma Masingita.

On this particular day we were driven into the house by the heavy rains and found ourselves in the hallway singing and dancing.  After a few minutes of this, one of the girls came into the house with a traditional Xibelani skirt to teach me the dance.  We all had loads of fun with unimaginable laughter from trying our best at the steady twisting of hips and shoulders.     I’m not quite sure if I was doing it properly (above pic) but it sure was exciting just to watch others as they effortlessly moved to the beat of the music playing on someones cell phone.

This time spent in the village reminded me of my childhood days growing up in the US South in North Carolina.  As the youngest of a really large family (11 children) there were always moments like this.   We would gather as a family in the hallway of our home, often with neighborhood friends as well to have made up performances- having fun singing, dancing and passing the time away.   We believed in and understood the importance of enjoying quotidian life, these everyday and ordinary activities that would bind us together as a family.

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The guys even gave us a treat by showing that they too could do this dance traditionally done by women

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Peace, Q-Nandi

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