Global Impacts upon Ngoma

In: Utafiti
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  • 1 Department of Creative Arts, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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Ngoma is a Kiswahili term which means traditional dance. In this essay the terms ‘ngoma’ and ‘dance’ are used interchangeably. The research was conducted in Dar es Salaam and Iringa among four ngoma groups of young people: Lumumba, Hayahaya, Alamano and Tanangozi. Theatre stakeholders were involved to seek their perceptions of the global impact on ngoma. In-depth interviews, participant-performer research, and group discussions were the methods employed, focussing on the content, costumes, musical instruments and the make-up used, to explore how and why cultures from around the world influence the way this traditional dance form is performed by young people. It emerged that a range of factors drive innovation in this dance form, including the dancers’ quest for recognition, their individual creativity, the performers’ desire to discover and display unique identities. The findings suggest that in this age of globalisation, international influences upon aesthetic sense and expression are inevitable. But in the case of Tanzania’s ngoma, which has been preserved conscientiously for decades, protective responses to such influences should be maintained vigilantly, in order to shield this valued intangible heritage from fading away.

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