Teams of traditional dancers from 13 gold mines in South Africa competed on Saturday (2 November).
Teams of traditional dancers from 13 gold mines in South Africa competed on Saturday (2 November). They were hoping for a place in South Africa's 400-member, multi-racial group which will take part in next year's 'World Gymnaestrada' in West Berlin.
The dancers - over 500 of them in teams of 40 -- demonstrated their skill at the 'Nguni Ndlamu' (stamping) dance. They were all from the Pondo tribe.
Such dancing has been modernised and the dancers no longer carry shields. Moreover, modern dress is occasionally mixed with the traditional and some of the teams were football shorts and even the rubber boots issued to them at the mines where they work.
The winning team came from the President Steyn Mine; second was the President Brand Mine group and third the Vaal Reefs Mine.
The winner will join South Africa's other gymnasts in West Berlin next year.
SYNOPSIS: This form of dancing by South African mineworkers goes back to pre-colonial days. Now it's been modernised... Gone are the lethal spears and large shields. But it's an awesome sight -- even today.
A near-capacity crowd packed Johannesburg' Milner Park Showgrounds to watch 13 teams of 40 dancers each compete. This team -- from the President Steyn Mine -- won the contest and a place in South Africa's multi-racial team which will take part in an international gymnastic competition to be held in West Berlin next year.
The mainly-white audience was enthralled by the display (PAUSE) and the competition was fierce ... The President Brand Mine group came second -- despite their energetic display from gymnast-dancers of all ages.
In all some 500 dancers took part. They're mineworkers and all come from the Pondo tribe. Once, such a display of skill and war-like rhythmic stamping might have announced an attack on the early white settlers. Now the winners will join other -- more traditional gymnasts -- and add colour and African zest to next year's so-called' 'World Gymnaestrada' in West Berlin.