This is not Pantsula

Sbujwa is a South African dance described as a dance that requires every muscle in your body to work in order to complete the moves.

Images by Bukola.

Recently, when I visited Johannesburg in Johannesburg, I got quite the treat. I was about to jump into a cab when this van pulls up and out piled these colorfully clad kids. With their exit came the loud blasting house sort of music; then the dance moves, taunting, shouting matches, some alcohol, and street fashion, but at the end of the day, it was about the dance. I was mesmerized, to say the least. A quick inquiry informed me that the phenomenon I was witnessing is called “sbujwa” — apparently not a new sight in the city. It is described as “a dance that requires every muscle in your body to work in order to complete moves” plus lots of creativity. There are differing views as to its origin, as seen here and here. Wherever it might have originated from, it was a delight to watch.

I found a short documentary on sbujwa on YouTube.

I’m hoping some “anthropologist” might be interested in researching and explaining this and other street dancing phenomena in Johannesburg. Here are some images I took of the dance. You’ll find the rest of my photos here.

Further Reading

Goodbye, Piassa

The demolition of an historic district in Addis Ababa shows a central contradiction of modernization: the desire to improve the country while devaluing its people and culture.

And do not hinder them

We hardly think of children as agents of change. At the height of 1980s apartheid repression in South Africa, a group of activists did and gave them the tool of print.

The new antisemitism?

Stripped of its veneer of nuance, Noah Feldman’s essay in ‘Time’ is another attempt to silence opponents of the Israeli state by smearing them as anti-Jewish racists.