African Dream Pt 2: Zulu Dancing in Durban Botanical Gardens

Zulu dancing always inspires a sense of joy, awe and fear in me. The dancers are always happy and their voices always sing with joy, but the movements are aggressive and intimidating. The dancers are always passionate and it is always a pleasure to watch. Enjoy!

Queenie with the Dancers
Queenie and the Dancers

Growing up in South Africa meant being exposed to a lot of the local traditional cultures. Now that I live half a world a way I only get to see or experience this culture on television or, more recently, at cultural events like South Africa Day and Africa Day (which are now annual events in Taipei). So in 2010 when we went back to visit my father in Durban, we were lucky enough to stumble upon a Zulu dance at the Durban Botanical Gardens, one of my favorite places in Durban. The dancers were amazing and the little girl was espeically cute.

Little Girl Dancer
Little Dancing Girl

The dance was performed as part of the fesitivities for a company relaunch as is explained by the lady in the beginning of the video below and therefore we were lucky enoug to see it for free. However, since it was a company relaunch the dancers were all dressed in the colors of the company and with the exception of one boy, nobody wore any traditional dress. The only dancer in traditional dress is shown below.

Traditional Dress
Dancer in Traditional Dress

The dancers really got into it and there was a lot of intensity shown by all of them. Apart from the seriousness and intensity which they put into the dance, they all seemed to have a lot of fun doing it. This made it extra special.

Dancer in Durban Botanical Gardens
Having Fun

Zulu dancing is very intense and, as per Queenie, can be a little scary. I remember years ago when I first took Queenie back to South Africa, we met a white South African man who grew up with the Zulu and knew how to dance as well as any Zulu. He explained that when he was a young man they would dance so hard in the hostels on the weekend that they would "piss blood". The reason being their legs crash down from behind their head onto concrete floors. At this event the dancers were dancing on grass and were not as aggressive but still the raising of the leg behind the head and crashing it down onto the ground requires a remarkable level of flexibility. I have tried to do this before (I am sure it was comical for those watching) and it is tough.

Teenage Dancer
Leg Over Head

Dancer in Durban Botanical Gardens
Remarkable Flexibility

The other impressive element of this dancing was the collective movement of the group. They seemed to remain in relatively good time without deviating too much.

The Group Moves Together
Moving Together

Moving Together
Moving Together

Of course a Zulu dance wouldn't be a Zulu dance without the beat of a drummer. There was single drummer for this group of dancers and she helped the dancers keep their beat.

Lone Drummer
Lone Drummer

The dance went on for quite a while and after a while the dancers started to challenge me by coming up really close and kicking their legs up at me. I just stood my ground and filmed. They loved it! Queenie and I had an awesome time watching them. For Queenie it was a very special experience. She has seen this type of dancing before but not with so many people together at once. Anyway, enjoy the video below.

We had an awesome time watching this dance and I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the video above. Look forward to your comments as always.

About this Series:

During Chinese New Year 2010, we headed off to South Africa to visit friends and family. These blog posts are short accounts of some of the things we did and appear in random, not chronological order. We are doing these blogs a year later and they seem like a distant wonderful dream. We had an awesome time and hope to go back as soon as possible.

1 comment:

  1. Some amazing pictures! Both my wife and I had such an amazing time on our South African safari, we were lucky enough to make it over to Durban but unfortunatley we did not get to see any dancing.


Please leave a comment and tell us what you think.


"Trafalgar Square" (1) 798 District (1) Africa (1) Airport (1) Archive (1) Art (1) Asia Art Center (1) Aviary (1) bagpipes (1) Ban Nam Dee (1) Beihai Park (1) Beijing (5) Birds (1) Bitan (1) Boracay (2) Bozburun (1) Buddhism (1) Buddhist Temple (1) Bunny Chow (1) Cafe India (1) canopy tour (1) cat (1) China (15) Christmas (2) Colombo (3) COPE (1) curry (1) Cycling (28) Cycling in Taiwan (8) dance (3) Dog (1) Durban (3) East Rift Valley (1) Eco Lodge (1) Elephant (3) Elephant Ride (1) Ella (1) Family (6) Fire (1) Flower Market (3) Food (2) France (1) Friends (19) Fulong (1) Galle (2) Galle Face Hotel (1) Gokova (1) Guandu Nature Park (1) hiking (2) Hong Kong (5) Hot Springs (1) Hsin Tien (1) Hualien (1) Hutong (1) Ilan (2) Japan (3) Jing Shan Beach (1) Kandayan Dancers (1) Kandy (5) Kandy Lake (1) Kaohsiung (2) Karkloof (1) Kayak (1) Keelung (4) Khiva (1) kitten (1) Koh Samui (1) Laos (9) Laos COPE (1) Laos Puppies (1) Laos Travelogue (3) Leofoo Village Theme Park (2) Library (1) Lion Dance (1) Little England (1) London (13) Luang Prabang (3) Marmaris (3) Matara (3) Mimi (2) Miscellaneous (32) Monkeys (1) Moses Mabhida Stadium (1) Namtha (1) Namtha. Huay Xuay (1) New Zealand (11) Nuawara Eliya (1) Nuwara Eliya (2) Osaka (3) Our Stuff (11) Pettah Market (1) Philippines (2) Photowalk (1) Pinglin (2) Pinnawala (1) Pot Pie Cafe (1) Pudding (1) Puppies (1) Puppy (1) Restaurants (11) Shek O (2) Shihmen Reservoir (1) Singapore (1) Snake Charmer (1) Snow (1) South Africa (12) Sri Lanka (17) street performers (1) Sung River (1) Sunset (3) Ta An Park (2) Tad Sae Waterfall (1) Taipei (18) Taipei and Taiwan Travel Guide (6) Taipei Fine Arts Museum (1) Taipei Hsin-Beitou (1) Taipei Restaurant (1) Taipei Video (6) Taiwan (24) Taiwan Video (5) Tamsui (2) Tangalle (1) Tangelle (1) Temple (1) Temple Lunch (1) Tennoji (2) Thailand (1) Tissahane (1) Train (1) Travel (62) Travel Guide (1) Travelogues (7) tuk tuk (1) Turkey (11) Unawatuna (1) Unawatuna Beach (1) Urgut (1) Uzbekistan (8) Vang Vieng (4) Vang Vieng Eco Lodge (1) Victoria Park (1) Vientiane (3) Vientiane COPE (1) Wattay International Airport (1) Wedding (2) Weherahena Temple (1) Willesden Green (1) Worship Team (2) Xindian (1) Yala Nature Reserve (1) Yangmingshan (1) zip-line (2) 六福村 (2) 北京 (2) 北海公园 (1) 大安森林公園 (1) 建國花市 (1) 新店 (1) 石澳 (1) 石門水庫 (1) 碧潭 (1) 花東縱谷 (1) 衚衕 (1) 金山海灘 (1) 關渡自然公園 (1)

Popular Posts