Canadian tour beckons for Black Umfolosi


BULAWAYO Internationally-acclaimed imbube ensemble, the legendary Black Umfolosi, is scheduled to embark on a month-long Canadian tour in November due to public demand.


The tour would see the six-member group performing in Toronto, Kensington, Edmonton and Winnipeg, among other cities and towns.

Director Thomeki Dube and a member of the outfit, said they were going back to Canada by public demand.

“We were hired to come back by the organisers of these shows, we have performed in most of these cities for more than five times, but the reception is still overwhelming,” he said.

The group, rated as the most travelled group in Zimbabwe, would also be involved in educational programmes at various Canadian educational institutions.

“Instead of performing on stage we will interact with students and teach them about our African culture and the meaning behind our dances,” Dube said.

“The gumboot dance in particular was formed by immigrant miners who worked in South African mines particularly in Johannesburg.
“It was a signal dance used by miners to communicate in the mining shafts.”

In 1992 the group performed at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria and at a Universal Exposition in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1998.

Dube expressed concern over failure to pay the group royalties for the works they have done for the country, especially the song Unity which enjoys a lot of airplay in the run-up to Unity Day.

“We have always represented the State at our own expense. We produced the song Unity from our own pocket which was later adopted by the State. We believe that we deserve to be treated as the cultural ambassadors of Zimbabwe and given royalties that are due to us,” he said.

The group took up the issue of royalties with the Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo, when he held a media stakeholders meeting at a local hotel a few months ago.

The Black Umfolosi co-founder mentioned how they were humiliated at the National Merit Awards (Nama) that took place in Bulawayo.

Back Umfolosi was refused entry at the Nama and was only rescued by Majahawodwa Ndlovu, aka Jeys Marabini after he threatened to leave and not present awards if the group was denied entry.