Despite the growing influence of western civilization, Xhosa people have remained rooted in the practice of their traditions and dance. Unlike so many Africans that seem ready to abandon their traditions, the Xhosa tradition and dance remains one of the most vibrant expressions of South Africa’s cultural heritage. The Xhosa dance remains a powerful expression of traditional values, beliefs, and practices. The various categories of the dances serve as means of communication of the salient elements of the culture.
The traditional essence of the dance transcends the element of fun by matching situations, ceremonies, and actions with the different types of dancing. Traditional practices such as marriages, funerals, harvesting, and initiation are accompanied by special dances that convey their value and significance as understood within the tradition.
Xhosa People Tradition and Dance
The Xhosa tradition is defined along strict patriarchal order. Nuances of the Xhosa tradition captures the different social roles assigned to men and women within the society. In the course of the dance, women tend to make movements that dramatize their domestic roles as assigned by the patriarchal world order.
Such roles revolve around motherhood and other domestic activities. On the other hand, it is possible to discern a demonstration of masculine superiority in the movements of the male dancers. The Xhosa men are traditionally designed to embody power and authority in their social relations. On this score, the dance becomes a powerful model of transmitting traditional values to successive generations.
The Xhosa tradition and dance serves the role of connecting generations. The uniformity of the dance and the traditional cadences of the movements and instruments ensure a seamless transition of power from one generation to the next. The world of the living joins the world of the departed and that of the unborn through the constancy in rhythm and continuity of the message. The Xhosa tradition is modeled on the aspect of ancestor worship.
The community believes that the spirit of the dead lurk at every nook of the society to keep watch and offer silent counsel to the living. The community’s dance is one of the ways by which the living converse with the dead and offer their praises to the ancestors. Dancing often takes the form of ritual significance since the community believes that it is indebted to the spirits for the good fortunes encountered.
The Xhosa people are amiable and accommodating. Their tradition encourages the adoption of positive attitudes in life. As such, life becomes an act of celebration. Song and dance are meant to create a sense of belonging in the community. The unique patters of dance also distinguish them from other communities in South Africa. In order for the dancers to enhance this unique traditional identity, the Xhosa traditional clothing such as turbans and sisal skirts are worn while dancing. The levels of energy invested in the dances vary significantly in relation to demographic factors. For instance, elderly women present slow and guarded movements while younger dancers show more rapid rhythms and a higher level of physical activity. Ultimately, the Xhosa dance remains a cherished tradition in South Africa and continues to attract many cultural tourists who visit the country to savor the delights of tradition and other natural beauties.