Prosper Ndlovu in Dubai, UAE
WITH only one week of presence at the World Expo 2020 Dubai, Bulawayo’s all-female dance group, Intombi Zomqangala, has attracted at least four business interests for scheduled shows in the course of the year.
Led by prominent musician, Sandra “Sandy” Ndebele, the group is excited to be in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where Zimbabwe is showcasing its diverse investment opportunities, products and services.
Art and cultural heritage are part of the package, and these are pulling crowds in a big way.
The group has delivered live scintillating dance, song and drum performances at the Zimbabwe Pavilion, attracting the attention of many visitors.
On Tuesday evening, Intombi Zomqangala performed at the giant expo arena’s Sun Stage where it drew a large audience from locals and dozens of exhibitors and visitors. Today, the group will be performing at The Bowl.
In an interview after the show at the Sun Stage, Sandy could not hide her excitement over the positive reception they are getting from the Arab community saying the group was eager to bring more forex to the country through exporting art.
“We believe that it’s time we start exporting our Zimbabwean talent all over the world and this is what we’re doing.
The world expo is the right platform in a big way because the whole world is in Dubai now,” she said.
“With the response and offers that we’re getting, hopefully by October we’ll see the girls coming back to Dubai to perform and market Zimbabwe so that we bring the US dollars back home.
“When we were offered this opportunity, we grabbed it with both hands because we knew that we’d meet everybody in Dubai. As you saw for yourself, we aren’t performing only for Zimbabweans, but for locals here, the Arab community and tourists.
“They’re fascinated by our set because it’s an all-female ensemble, girls singing and playing the drums. Perhaps it’s something that they haven’t experienced before,” Sandy said.
National Arts Council of Zimbabwe director, Nicholas Moyo, who is also part of the Zimbabwe Pavilion team and has witnessed the group’s performances said it was encouraging that local groups were attracting global interest.
He said having Intombi Zomqangala performing at a time that the global community was celebrating International Women’s Day was remarkable for the group and the entire country.
“It couldn’t have been any other day and having our all-female dance ensemble performing on this grand platform on this day (Tuesday) has put icing on the cake for Zimbabwe’s participation at this international expo,” said Moyo.
“We’re participating here as a country, but we’re on an international platform and it’s important to have Intombi Zomqangala shining the way they’re doing as the only women ensemble that we have as a country at Dubai Expo.
“Very critical is that on Monday, they did their first presentation and for the first 30-minute presentation, we had about four confirmed interests for other shows in Dubai, but above all, other inquiries about how they can purchase this product.
This is why when we bring in cultural products into an expo like Dubai Expo, we are also saying people can shop, invest and buy Zimbabwean products and one of these is this cultural product that we are seeing.”
Intombi Zomqangala is a platform for promoting young girls to be leaders in their own right through music, dance, and playing the drum, said Sandy while paying tribute to the Government for facilitating their participation at the expo.
“We’re so thankful to the Government for this opportunity because we performed on a stage where the likes of Alicia Keys performed. What else would one want except to just say thank you Zimbabwe for the support, siyabonga kakhulu, tatenda,” she said.
“We’re so excited and the girls were even laughing saying ‘Sandy, look our skin has changed in one week’ and I have been saying ‘work harder and it will change permanently’.
“We came here for the expo, but we’ve also visited schools sharing our culture and visited the global village for another smaller expo where we were welcomed with both hands.”
Article Source: The Chronicle