Molepo Dinaka/Kiba Festival

Artist: Molepo Traditional Dance Cooperative Limited
Location: Mankgaile village, Ga-Molepo,
Polokwane, South Africa
Year of completion: 2015
Vaughn Sadie

In a current global climate where indigenous knowledge systems are in danger of being phased out by modern ways of living, Dinaka/Kiba music (traditional Northern Sotho music) is severely under threat of disappearing. Molepo Dinaka/Kiba Festival the foregrounds preservation of the music and related practices, through a well developed education programme where community participation prioritised a long with collaboration across generations and gender.

The annual festival, through a the creation of a "school", prioritises the preservation of indigenous knowledge systems through set of participatory workshops that record and preserve the oral histories and craft practices related Dinaka/Kiba music. The outcomes from the "school" create the content for a performance festival, which happens in several smaller communal public spaces in the Mankgaile village, Ga-Molepo, Polokwane, South Africa. Through the integration of pedogical methodologies, collaborative process and interdisciplinary approaches the Festival finds more contemporary ways of expressing and performing this traditional form of music, allowing it to find resonance with younger and newer audience.

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I consider this worthy project for several reasons. 1) The innovative approach to the preservation of indigenous knowledge systems. 2) The outcomes of the "school" are performed publicly, creating a collective sense of pride in the outcome and process, fostering a sense community ownership through the shared experience. 3) The festival happens in a rural setting in a South Africa, where very different understanding of public space exist, as they are spaces are formed and defined through different needs and requirements. The festival considers this deeply and understand that in this context public space is space for knowledge production and sharing.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

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