The scorching sun reaches its peak. The women clad in their chilundu and Sofia shoes dance to the throbbing drums. The ululating women, oblivious of the reality outside this dance arena shake in happiness. The patrons watch as if hypnotised by the sound of the drums and the dancing women. Yeah, countryfolks this is at the social mobilisation mass rally. Then, the voices rise to a crescendo. Viva democracy!
Culture has for a long time played a crucial role in human development. Politicians have since time immemorial manipulated culture. Yeah, most of the African leaders have exploited culture. They have used and dumped artists too.
Yeah, countryfolks. Imagine a political campaign period without any traditional dances and music? Imagine a social mobilisation campaign without stand-up comedies? Imagine a campaign without songs and chants as per our culture? Imagine political rallies without the dancing women! I bet such a rally will be a failure. Yeah, people will prefer going to a football match rather than siting at such a gathering.
Politicians have capitalised on the people’s total way of life. They have respected culture for a gain. They have manipulated the mind of we, the people. They have gone to our traditional leaders and sought guidance during the campaign period so as to amass votes for their own political ego. Yeah, politicians have camped in our villages. They have sponsored our women to dance for them during meetings. They have utilised the power of money. Yeah, countryfolks but they have failed to buy the people’s soul.
Yeah, countryfolks, I like the songs of our dancing women. I like the impromptu compositions but do not like the same old songs they keep changing the lyrics.
I have heard most of these songs before. I have grown up listening to these songs for decades. The songs are the same. They only change the names as mentioned in the song to suit the politician of the time. These songs rise in tempo in support of the politicians with great expectations that there will be food on the table.
Yeah, countryfolks, as the women dance, the people dream, dreams.
I know of dancing women who ululate and chant their hopelessness. I know some of the women who dance and are struggling to come to reality with the poverty awaiting them at home. The dreams of these women, who shake their bodies to the sound of the drums and rhythms of hope.
The dream of these women is to be independent and survive the times.
I know some of these women do dance not as a way of just passing the times but for therapy. Yeah, countryfolks, the dancing is for moments. To go into the other world, away from the real world.
I know some of our dancing women with sweet voices who always are at the dance arena as patriotic citizens of the Motherland. I salute these dancing women. I salute these women who do not look at materialism but serving the motherland.
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