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

An unfinished project

Christian theology was appropriated to play an integral role in the justifying apartheid’s racist ideology. Black theologians resisted through a theology of the oppressed.

Writing while black

The film adaptation of Percival Everett’s novel ‘Erasure’ leaves little room to explore Black middle-class complicity in commodifying the traumas of Black working-class lives.

The Mogadishu analogy

In Gaza and Haiti, the specter of another Mogadishu is being raised to alert on-lookers and policymakers of unfolding tragedies. But we have to be careful when making comparisons.

Kwame Nkrumah today

New documents looking at British and American involvement in overthrowing Kwame Nkrumah give us pause to reflect on his legacy, and its resonances today.