‘Ndima YaMai’ a celebration of African women voices

An AfriKera stage production

Ndima YaMai, a powerful all-women production, is set to unveil at Alliance Francaise de Harare this evening. Presented by Essence of Women, AfriKera Arts Trust’s female dance company, the production blends multiple African artistic styles to celebrate the strength and freedom of African women.

Co-directed and co-choreographed by dance instructor Rujeko Dumbutshena and Soukaina M-L Edom, the founder and director of AfriKera Arts Trust (Zimbabwe), the performance features a dynamic fusion of spoken word, dance and music, celebrating the diverse experiences and resilience of African women.

The iconic all-women cast includes Nancy Nasibo Mutize, Chioniso Rushwaya, Tina Watyoka, Rutendo Denise Mutsamwira, and the Essence of Women Dance Ensemble (EoW).

Dumbutshena, an assistant professor of African Dance at the University of Florida, United States, said Ndima YaMai is a powerful statement about the liberation and self-actualisation of African women incorporating the elements as a storytelling tool to symbolise the interconnectedness of women and nature.

“Through this production, we aim to uplift the voices and stories of women across the continent, showcasing the beauty, strength and creativity that has always been at the heart of the African female experience,” Dumbutshena said in a statement released earlier this week.

Edom added: “This is a truly collaborative effort that brings together some of the most talented female artists in Zimbabwe and the diaspora. Together, we have crafted a visually stunning and emotionally resonant performance, inviting the audience to connect with the shared experiences and aspirations of African women.”

Mutsamwira’s poetry will interweave the stories of different women from different spaces and spheres. The multi-platform creative and cultural consultant who plays the great mother, said that the writing process of Ndima YaMai was guided by different elements. ‘

“There are certain emotions that are evoked by different elements such as water, wind and the earth,” Mutsamwira said.

“I think one of the things that’s lacking in the world is the realisation of how many things women need to unpack for themselves as well as together within communities. I think the health of a nation and a family lies in the state of mind, soul and spirit of its women.

“What we are doing is an acknowledgment of those who have passed and what we have learnt from them as well as those who are trying to figure out what life means in the present, including those that shall see and reflect on this in the future, to help guide them with the tools that we didn’t know we needed until Ndima YaMai came to life.”

AfriKera Arts Trust, founded in 2014, promotes dance and performing arts through various programmes, including the AfriKera Professional Dance Training (APDT), EoW and the AfriKera Dance Theatre, the choreographic arm composed of AfriKera alumni.

The project is supported by the US embassy in Zimbabwe, University of Florida’s College of the Arts and Centre for Arts Migration and Entrepreneurship, and Alliance Française de Harare.

Advance tickets are available for US$10, with tickets at the door going for US$15.

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