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

A power crisis

Andre De Ruyter, the former CEO of Eskom, has presented himself as a simple hero trying to save South Africa’s struggling power utility against corrupt forces. But this racially charged narrative is ultimately self-serving.

Cinematic universality

Fatou Cissé’s directorial debut meditates on the uncertain fate and importance of Malian cinema amidst the growing dismissiveness towards the humanities across the world.

The meanings of Heath Streak

Zimbabwean cricketing legend Heath Streak’s career mirrors many of the unresolved tensions of race and class in Zimbabwe. Yet few white Zimbabwean sporting figures are able to stir interest and conversation across the nation’s many divides.

Victorious

After winning Italy’s Serie A with Napoli, Victor Osimhen has cemented his claim to being Africa’s biggest footballing icon. But is the trend of individual stardom good for sports and politics?