Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Iyasa celebrates two decades of dance

By Bongani Ndlovu and Tonderai Zvimba

It’s been 20 years since illustrious and well-travelled dance group, Iyasa was formed and to celebrate this feat, the group will hold a family show at Bulawayo Theatre on January 1, 2019.


Inkululeko Yabatsha School of Arts (Iyasa) is one of the most celebrated performing arts schools in Zimbabwe and it has defied odds over the years by taking the local home brewed talent to the world.

The arts school, a brainchild of Nkululeko Innocent Dube who founded the group while he was a teacher at Mpopoma High School started off as a drama club.

As it grew, the group expanded to be a resource centre for most established and up-and-coming artistes, especially musicians, singers and dancers. It is now one of the most sought after entertainment groups.

Some of the success stories from the group include Sandra Ndebele-Sibindi, Roben Mlauzi, Nkwali and Tsungi Tsikirai

Dube who is the group’s director said the celebrations which are expected to kick off at 7PM will be in the form of a family show.
He said he hoped to have the group’s founding members perform as they want to reflect on the formative days of Iyasa.
“It’s been 20 years since Iyasa was formed. We’re talking about the days when we started off as a group of Mpopoma pupils. At the celebrations, we’ll take people back to those days and we’re putting together a package that cuts across the generations of Iyasa. I think we have four generations of the group,” said Dube.

“We’re giving back to the community that has supported us over the years. We’re bringing back all the good memories people have about Iyasa and showing them where we are now.

The word fireworks sounds like a cliché, but we promise a fun-filled evening for all those who will attend as we’ll give it our all.”

He said most importantly, this event will be a good opportunity for local fans of the group to watch them performing live on stage as they are always on tour outside the country. Iyasa spend most of their time in Austria and Germany performing for audiences there. Over the years, they have performed in Serbia, Czech Republic, South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia, Malawi, Slovakia, UK, Japan, Mexico, Montenegro, Italy, Lichtenstein and Croatia.
“What we’ve realised is that as Iyasa, we spend most of our time outside the country and when we’re here, some people don’t have the opportunity to see us on a family oriented stage as we mostly perform at bars.
“So we’ve used this celebration to bring together our international artistes and local ones on one stage to showcase what we have,” said Dube.Iyasa has two groups, one that tours internationally and the other that services the local market.
Reflecting on their 20-year journey, Dube said: “It’s been a rollercoaster of memories and lessons. We’ve learnt to appreciate each day in our careers because you never know what it brings you.

“We’ve also learnt to compete in a healthy way and to measure our success using ourselves as the mirror of our work. The arts are not easy, yet they’re so enriching in many ways. Our travels across the world have opened our horizons and broadened our scope in the arts.

Dube said he had learnt a lot of things about the arts industry over the two decades.

“I wish I’d known before that all that glitters is not gold. In essence, fame doesn’t translate to riches as many people tend to think. Money doesn’t grow on trees in the diaspora either as it all comes out of sweat and hard work.

“I also wish I’d fully understood the sacrifice it takes out of your personal life and relationships to champion a brand like Iyasa,” he said.
However, Dube said he had no regrets in forming the group.

“We’ve come out of our challenges as better beings and I treasure the relationships, synergies and collaborations we’ve created all over the world.”

Iyasa, Dube said has greater plans for the coming year as they want to nurture new and young talent.

“We’re looking forward to continuing to groom young artistes who’ll be the future generation of artistes through the annual schools programme – Isiphiwo Sami Talent Search that is coming up. We’re also working on a new track to supersede the hit song Sjaiva Sibancane.”

He also spoke about recruiting young talent that will carry on the legacy of Iyasa saying: “Iyasa has a strong junior policy and from them — as with previous generations — will be outstanding artistes.

Artistes like Sandra Ndebele, Futurelove, Nkwali, Pepsie, Silethemba and Roben Mlauzi, among others have done us proud so surely it’s up to the current generation to carry on the baton.” The Chronicle.