Bulawayo’s Magesh will have to travel all the way to Mutare to defend their Jibilika dance crown, as the country’s premier urban dance festival, the Jibilika Dance Festival, will not be returning to the City of Kings this year.
After dominating in seven previous editions held in the capital, Bulawayo dance groups finally enjoyed home ground advantage when the country’s premier urban dance extravaganza held its first event outside the capital in August last year.
Bulawayo groups have dominated the dance fete, with groups from the city walking away as winners in six of the eight editions.
Established in 2007 the festival runs with a new theme each year which defines the spirit, format and thrust of that year’s fiesta. The festival selects 11 groups from each of the country’s 10 provinces and another one from Chitungwiza to take part in the national finals. This year’s fest will run under the theme “Empowered”.
The provincial finals will start in Masvingo on 2 April, followed by Gweru (16 April), Mutare (30 April) Harare (23 May Bindura (14 May) Bulawayo (4 June) Chitungwiza (18 June), Kadoma (25 June) Marondera (2 July), Gwanda (16 July) and Hwange (23 July).
Founder and festival director Plot Mhako said that they were taking Jibilika to Mutare as they wanted to break the stranglehold Bulawayo and Harare held over the dance scene in the country.
“As we did by taking the festival to Bulawayo we want to make sure all the country’s provinces are exposed to the spectacle that is Jibilika and that is the only way to ensure the growth of urban dance,” he said.