Heritage dance in the spotlight at Cape Town Carnival

Cape Town, 6 March 2020 – The Kingdom Connected Campers (KCC) from Richmond in the central Karoo, which uses dance to develop youth talent, will be performing one of South Africa’s oldest indigenous dance styles, riel, at the Cape Town Carnival taking place on Human Rights Day, 21 March, on Green Point’s Fan Walk.

An age-old dance style originally performed by Khoisan hunters, one of the first peoples to inhabit Southern Africa, riel is a celebratory form of dance usually performed around a campfire after hunting expeditions, or following a good harvest when farm labourers or sheep shearers come home from work. Set to the beat of boeremusiek, riel employs fancy footwork that kicks up a lot of dust.

Thys Bouwers, founder/director of the Northern-Cape non-profit youth organisation, says, “We formed KCC in 2017 to address crime among our youth in our little town.

“As in so many farming communities, poverty leading to crime is a major issue affecting poorer families and youth who are trying to survive.”

Richmond, a farming town just off the N1 highway between Beaufort West and Colesburg, is far removed from the commercial, well-resourced cities of South Africa, and is bearing the brunt of the worst drought in more than a century.

“Dance, and in our case, riel, has given youth a reason to believe that there’s more to life than the incredible hardships they experience, and it provides a temporary reprieve from their harsh realities, giving them a sense of pride and purpose.”

From marimba to marabi, uhadi to riel; from the voices of our women to the footsteps of our ancestors; from the beat of the drum to the echoing calls for change: the Cape Town Carnival’s 2020 “Incredible Journey: Sounds of South Africa” theme will showcase the music, song, dance and art of our country.

It’s a free-to-view public event. Catered for, pre-reserved seating and hospitality stands are available; tickets for these are on sale at www.capetowncarnival.com

Pic: Supplied by Transform Marketing

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