Traditional Dance In Namibia
Windhoek, Namibia – Jul 2007
Many indigenous groups in Namibia have adapted to western culture and lifestyles, but when it comes to celebrating their traditions many people from this beautiful country stay true to their unique and genuine African heritage.
A practice that is celebrated with pride by some of the different ethnic groups here is traditional dancing.
The Ukumwe and Kambundu cultural groups of the Kavango region in northern Namibia have travelled far and wide to entertain audiences with their impressive dances. The Ukumwe traditional group was initially formed in 1997, it consists of forty members who are mostly 20 years or older. The Kambundu cultural dance group on the other hand consists of twenty members and was formed in 1995.
The Senior Cultural Officer in the Kavango region, Thomas Shapi said the groups perform locally and internationally. On the local front they perform in all 13 regions of Namibia, including at holiday lodges as their dances are considered to be one of Namibia’s many tourist attractions. The Ukumwe and Kambundu traditional groups usually dominate the cultural scene at National Festivals and have for the past couple of years been the winners at these festivals where traditional dance is concerned.
Internationally they have already performed in neighbouring Botswana, South Africa and Zambia. They have also travelled to Zimbabwe, Libya, China and Cuba to perform.
In 2005 both of these groups formed a combined group to tour and perform in Germany, when they were invited through Namibia’s Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture.
With dances known as the Mahamba, the Uukamba or shoulder dance, the Kambabba or quick feet dance, the Siperu, the Unyanga and the Nondere, they entertained audiences around the country to such an extent that the group was invited for a second visit to Germany scheduled for August this year. The invitation was extended to the group by the International Trachten und Folkelorefeiern in Scwalenburg, Germany.
A lot has already been learned through cultural exchange including respect for each other’s traditions and cultural heritage. What the Ukumwe and Kambundu traditional groups offer through their dances is just a drop in the ocean of the rich culture that exists among the many and diverse ethnic groups on the African continent.