When they burst onto the dance and music scene in 2009 performing at weddings and public ceremonies in their area of Kafusi in Gwanda South under Chief Mathe, little did they know that seven years down the line their dream of having a studio album would be fulfilled.
Named Bolamba Performing Arts, the ensemble which specialises in Sotho or Birwa music and dances like Setapa, Pathisi and Tsutsube to mention a few, boast of a single studio recording album titled Khuba — a shortened Sotho word from Khubama meaning kneeling before your opponent in admission of defeat.
As the group enjoys celebrity status in their place of origin, the album produced by veteran traditional producer Joe Maseko who once produced for Botswana Traditional groups such as Dikakapa and Cultural Spears, has since penetrated into urban areas like Bulawayo as their songs like Pula and Kgosi are enjoying airplay on local radio stations.
The director of the group Mayibongwe Dlodlo said their six-track offering is not only targeted at the Gwanda or Sotho audience but is for all Zimbabweans as they believe music is a uniting factor.
“Our targeted audience is not only the Sotho or Tswana people, we do music for everyone in Zimbabwe. Our opening track in the album is Dumelang which is a way of greeting people. In the song we greet all the Zimbabwean tribes including Shona, Ndebele, Sotho, Kalanga and Xhosa because we want to unite the nation through music,” said Mayibongwe.
The group which has since shared the stage with Zimbabwe’s seasoned artistes like Ndux Malax Junior, Madlela Skhobokhobo, Martin and Ndolwane, Iyasa and legendary poet Albert Nyathi, are keen to escape Gwanda and portray their dance and music skills as Mayibongwe reveals they want to take part in this year’s Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance competition.
Shooting of a Live DVD recording for the album is also on the cards.
“Our focus in 2018 is to spread our dance and musical creativity across Zimbabwe with the main object being competing at the Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance competition. Despite the financial crisis we are facing, we are preparing to shoot our first DVD recording for the album in April,” he said.
The group’s focal point is to revive the Sotho culture and values which inspired their name Bolamba, an ancient site for the Birwa tribe found in Gwanda South.