Day 27, Year 6 Zulu Song and Dance
Date: Saturday, November 20, 2010
Weather: Beautiful Day, Winds NE 20
Location: Tuzi Gazi Marina, Richards Bay, South Africa

What a day! We spent the entire day at the Sports Complex in Richards Bay watching the 14th Annual Zulu Dance Competition. And it was fantastic. We had been told that the competitions get moving slowly in the morning, so we arrived at 11 am. Unfortunately, that was a little too late as we missed a couple of the categories. We arrived in time for the Isicathamiya. This is a singing competition where the men are dressed in suit and tie and white gloves. They sing a-cappella combining a bit of gospel with traditional African rhythm. Next we watched Ingoma Isizingili. Mixed groups of young men and women, and sometimes very young children performed the dance to the chanting of a large group of people behind them. The men dress in traditional animal skins and the women perform bare-chested wearing a skirt and sometimes an elaborate necklace of beads. This is one of the purest remnants of Zulu tradition. But the highlight was Indlamu which is sometimes referred to as the Zulu war dance. Actually it is a dance of warriors. In this dance the beat is kept with big drums. The dancers lift a foot high over their heads and then slam it down hard on the ground accentuating the drum beat. The dancers are dressed in animal hides with women dancers performing bare-chested. The final performance was a modern form of Ingoma called Ingoma Isishiyameni. Ingoma is another dance where feet are alternately kicked high in the air and then slammed down hard on the ground. The modern version reminded us of break dancing, which must have been derived from the African Isishyyameni. The costumes were quite creative and the dancers most enthusiastic. It wore us out just watching them! There was a lunch break and Anushka Makka, the Tourism Officer for the Uthungulu District Municipality here in Richards Bay, invited all of the yachties in attendance to a free luncheon. We were overwhelmed at the outreach of hospitality. All in all, it was a fantastic day.

And a fantastic day should be topped with a fantastic night, and so it was. We went to the barbecue that Pieter of Odulphus had arranged with Christie at the Upper Deck. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day. The Dutch-Pieter and Carla of Odulphus, Deana and Ed of Angelique, and Henny, a mainstay here in Tuzi Gazi-played accordion, harmonica, and guitar and got us all involved in a bit of singing. The Upper Deck supplied green salad, pasta salad, and bean salad, mashed potatoes and gray, and a tray of lamb, beef, and sausage for each person for only 55 rand ($8 US). And most of us could only eat one dinner between the two of us. The food was good but the camaraderie was the special part. Dominique and Dominique of KEA arrived from Mozambique while we were all standing around the braai (South African term for a grill) and once they were tied up, they came to join us. Getting together with other cruisers tonight reminded us of what a special group of people we travel with.

101120 Day 27a South Africa–Zulu Dance Competition
101120 Day 27b South Africa–Upper Deck Braai