As Ntate Morena was preparing for a wedding, he took us through the journey of how one can prepare for Kiba le Dinaka. Days before the event, he started creating what is called Mašwa šwadi, which are Sepedi anklets that are used as musical instruments. He first finds a strong string and creates pockets that he fills with either stones, beads or seeds. He pulls the pockets together with the string and makes it just tight enough to go around his ankle and make the ‘ch-ch’ or rattling sound that he fondly loves. The perfect sound takes practice to master, as he jokingly compares it to playing marimba with your ankles.
On the day of the ceremony, serenades of a flute or a fluit, as he would call it, can be heard from kilometres away. As the community gathers, he explains that playing the flute is a symbol of honour and something that is usually left for men to do while the Kiba is performed.
As the singing and dancing proceeded, he explained how by just listening to meropa or drums in English, you can immediately deduce what kind of event is taking place. A slower sounding drum indicates that it could be a funeral or a sombre event while the louder more upbeat drums are usually played at weddings at a faster pace.
He concluded by performing the dance for us as he and some of the people in the community formed a circle with each person who went into the circle vigorously stomping their feet in unison while blowing their flutes at the same time and in the same tune and following the beat of the drums.
“I was taught this dance by my father and he by his father, however, today I can only count a few young people who can still perform Kiba le Dinaka. I’m happy that you could come all the way here to capture my story and help me get this knowledge to young people so that this tradition doesn’t die and our culture is not forgotten,” concluded Ntate Morena.
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