Dancing with Wolves?


ACCUSATIONS of nepotism and unfair practices to advantage and benefit certain youth traditional dance groups are at the moment rife in the arts fraternity.

These include that specific groups are more often used than others at Government functions and welcoming ceremonies of heads of states, while a certain group is always taken for overseas trips, as if this group is the official dance troupe.

Other up-and-coming traditional dance troupes are seldom given opportunities to show off their talent because they are not ‘well connected with the right people’, an unfair practice that should be rooted out once and for all.

It is alleged that some dance troupe members work in Government art and culture departments, ensuring regular performances for their groups, who unfairly obtain lucrative contracts and preferential treatment when such assignments come up.

That young people take the initiative to self-empowerment is one thing, but if they are marginalised by the selfishness of more established traditional dance groups, then it serves no real purpose that such initiatives are undertaken.

A bothering thought is also the fact that since independence no real traditional dance musicals, of which the whole nation would be proud of, have been created from the ranks of these established dance troupes. The creative and financial viability of such a project should be investigated and implemented as a matter of national pride.

Presently, the scope for such traditional dance groups are very limited, either to a once-a-year traditional dance festival, normally far off in the isolated villages of the country and away from the media spotlight. The time has come that this particular initiative be given more substance in creativity for example lodge owners and other secondary businesses involved in the tourism industry.

Apparently the current custom is that most lodges have their own cultural groups, consisting of their black workers to entertain overseas visitors accommodated by such lodges. The question is are these workers compensated properly for exhibiting their natural dance and singing skills or are the lodge owners exploiting them?

Traditional dances form an important integral part of the country’s cultural development and should be respected, marketed and promoted as any of the other art and culture disciplines, some of them comparable to the best in other Afri-can countries.


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