The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Fighting HIV/Aids Through Dance

The annual Jibilika Hip-Hop Dance Festival ended on a high note at the weekend, with six groups walking away with prizes at an event held in the Harare Gardens. The day saw 30 dance outfits battling for US$500 prize money in dancehall, b-boy and new school categories.

Each category had a winner and runner-up with the victor walking away US$500 richer plus a certificate.

The six energetic and youthful winners were Roya Crew in B-boy, Antivirus in New School category and Street Madness emerged winner in the dancehall category.

The runners up -- Flip-floppers, Innovative Dance Crew and Style and Swagger -- walked away with certificates. Stealing the limelight was Street Madness in the dancehall category, who wowed the crowd with their scintillating routines.

The self-choreographed group from Mbare danced to Winky D and Sean Paul's songs before doing a short skit based on World Aids Day.

Their piece boasts stunning dancing techniques.

Jibilika Dance Festival artistic director Plot Mhako said the festival was a success compared to previous years as it is now used as a way of promoting youth involvement in issues affecting today's world.

"Dance plays a pivotal role in the society and I am happy that today (Saturday) we have achieved our goal of involving youths in the fight against HIV and Aids," he said.

Mhako said the festival had become a vehicle through which youths can develop their natural skills.

"In Africa, whenever people gather for one reason or another, dance takes centre stage.

"Because dance expresses what words cannot say, while entertaining and engaging the audience, it is being employed as a platform for youth participation in the fight against the Aids pandemic," he said.

The artistic director said that the festival was assisted by various youth groups including S.O.D. and Gaza 6ix, organisations which have reputable influence amongst today's youths.

Upcoming urban groover and Midlands State University student Schingy gave fans a taste of his new album, "Takajamuka".

DJ Stackx rocked the crowd with Tatea da Mc and Flowsick as masters of ceremony.

This year's edition ran under the theme "Step up to HIV" in recognition of the World Aids Day.

The dance festival was launched in 2007 and has developed over the years, in 2009 the festival gave birth to the Battle of the Year dance competitions.

The festival, aimed at making a positive contribution in the fight against HIV and Aids, is held on December 1.

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