We Lowvelders have been known to say we are starved of culture, but my experience of late has been a veritable cultural extravaganza.
Last month I ticked off a long-time bucket list item by finally going to Baroque in the Bush at Shingwedzi in the Kruger Park. Not deterred when we discovered that the accommodation was fully booked, our group of four intrepid gals set out to beg, borrow and buy various items of camping equipment. Our game viewing forays were amazing and the camaraderie in our laager made the trip extra special. And the music! Celestial concertos, classical marimba magic and sonatas mingled with the sounds of the African bushveld.The haunting, soaring strains of the violin literally tugged at my heartstrings, giving new meaning to that clichéd expression, and at times almost moving me to tears. No longer newbies, we have earned the right to be part of that elite tribe that jealously protects their highly coveted Baroque “membership”, enabling us to return each year to take up our seats on the Shingwedzi deck. We will be back next year!
A highlight on the White River cultural calendar at the moment is the fabulous, infectiously joyous celebration of African music by students of the Casterbridge Music Development Academy. I defy anyone not to get up and dance. Their performance is professional and hugely entertaining, and they deserve our support.
Recently I had my regular Siyathokoza fix – a joyous explosion of Zulu dance to the beat of the African drums that reverberates in every cell of the body. Founder of the dance group, Netto Maluka’s aim is to encourage pride, self-worth and personal discipline, preserve a cultural heritage and provide a healthy and positive outlet for township youth to express their energy after school. These kids have attitude and self-confidence. And quite rightly so – they are gob-smackingly, jaw-droppingly talented!