“This is not Pantsula”

I got a treat when I was in Johannesburg recently. 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 enquiry 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:

And here’s another example:

I’m hoping some “anthropologist” might be interested in researching and explaining this and other street dancing phenomenons in Johannesburg. You’ll find the rest of my photos here.


One thought on ““This is not Pantsula”

  1. I think there’s more to the “street dancing phenomenons” you’re referring to. I’ve heard of similar movements born in informal settlements in Caracas (Tuki) and Rio de Janeiro (Passinho). Often it is not just about the dance, it’s a culture of music, lifestyle, etc. I find it interesting that similar movements are developing around the world, independently from each other.

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