Mahenye dancers practice for the Harare Carnival

We drive into a family compound in the Mahenye village to watch two dance teams display their prowess, before they head off to the Harare Carnival…The painted huts are a delight….I am always struck by the beauty and intensity of the colour that the artists achieve with natural earth and ash pigments.

 

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The dancers are ready, impatient to begin. From the very old to the very young, this is a revered tradition and is a family affair, young lads and girls learning the intricate and symbolic moves from their elders.

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Body adornment adds to the power of the dancers….

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Clive leans against a fallen tree, waiting for the action and flanked by “tree children”…

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Culture is paramount in Changana village life, and a dance such as this draws keen interest from youngsters.

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A brightly wrapped woman carries a drum on her head, heading for the dance area…

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Dust and the setting sun combine to create a spectacular backdrop to the action.

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The full beaded skirts of the women create a swirl of brilliant colour,

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Porcupine quills and rattles are the trademark of the lead dancer, a venerable elder who lives for his dance…he has been dancing in this group for as long as I have known them, over 15 years, and he seemed ancient when I first watched him all those years ago! Even now, as he sits waiting the next round of dancing to begin, he seems beyond dancing, beyond the intense energy needed to sustain the physical stamina needed for the dance…but I know from experience that as the drums start, and as the women start their energizing song, his body will transform and bend and twist with all the energy of a visionary. Years of instinct and experience will shine through his every move….

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A sunset backed by a monumental baobab in the Mahenye Village, marks the end of the satisfying day……

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About wineandwilddogs

Lin Barrie The Save Valley Conservancy stretches along the upper reaches of the great Save River in the south east of Zimbabwe. The Gonarezhou National Park laps against the southern banks of the Save River and between these two nestles the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. These three celebrated wildlife areas form part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, (GLTFCA)- a unique wilderness jewel which is home to the “Big Five” (endangered Black and White rhinos, elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard) and the ”Little Six” (Klipspringer, Suni, Duiker, Steenbok, Sharpe's Grysbok and Oribi). Endangered African wild dogs, Cheetah, Brown hyena, Bat-eared foxes and a host of special birds and plants contribute to the immense variety of this ecosystem. Communities around the GLTFCA contribute to innovative partnerships with National Parks and the private sector, forming a sound base on which to manage social, economic and environmental issues. This is home to artist and writer Lin Barrie and her life partner, conservationist Clive Stockil. Expressing her hopes, fears and love for this special ecosystem with oil paints on canvas, Lin Barrie believes that the essence of a landscape, person or animal, can only truly be captured by direct observation. Lin Barrie states: “Through my art, and my writing, I feel an intimate connection with the natural world, and from my extensive field sketches of wild animals, people and landscapes, I create larger works on canvas. Lin's work is in various public and private collections in South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Australia, England, Canada, Sweden and the United States of America. She is represented by galleries in South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Kenya and Florida, USA.
This entry was posted in Africa, art, Chilo Gorge, cooking, culture, dance, eco-tourism, family, food, great limpopo transfrontier conservation Area, initiation rites, Machangana culture, zimbabwe and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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