In three years of full-time studies, the students of Afrikera Art Trust dance school in Harare, vow to succeed in their lives and carry the country’s flag high and far.
Ellain Ncube and Munashe Mamombe are all eager to go to the ends of the world with dance. The time is getting long for them to finish school and go to their professional life, full of hope for a better future. “If others can succeed and make a living through dance, why not me?” says Ellain Ncube, twenty-one. “Dancing is my passion and I will make a living from it,” adds Munashe Mamombe, the same age.
The atmosphere is atomic during the training sessions, which testifies to the enthusiasm and passion of the students for dance. According to their testimony, apart from dance in its multiform aspects, discipline, hard work, resilience and the maintenance of physical health through gymnastics are also pillars in their studies and their success in professional life.
Operational since 2015 in Harare, the Afrikera Art Trust school was founded by Marie Laure Edom, a Guadeloupean international expert in choreography. Many of her former students are actively pursuing dance professionally and she is pleased with what her students have already managed to achieve in their professional lives. They are members of dance groups in the country, others work in schools as dance teachers and very interestingly, there are already some who are breaking into regional and international markets. “Some of our former students are working in South Africa, the United States and they are even starting to invade the European market,” says Marie Laure enthusiastically.
The school focuses its attention on children from poor neighborhoods to give them the opportunity for a better life. They learn classical dance, traditional Zimbabwean and African dances as well as different styles of modern music. They also have other useful courses in their daily life, such as accounting to manage their finances.
But how can dance be useful in our African countries where the consumption of such products remains less popular? Marie Laure has no hesitation in answering. “You just have to remember that dance is a product to be marketed like other products,” she says. Students agree. According to them, apart from the virtues they gain from practical lessons, such as the physical flexibility of their body and hence good health, they are sure to succeed in life not only for their personal lives, but also for the pride of their country. They vow to carry the Zimbabwean flag high and far with their multifaceted dance.
As Marie Laure mentions, it is rare for professional girl dancers to predominate in African societies, but currently the school has enrolled more girls than boys, which is interesting for her and a step ahead.
The name Afrikera is a mix of the word Africa and Karukera, the original name of Guadeloupe-the mother land of the founder of the school- before the arrival of the settlers.
By: Gilbert Rwamatwara