Like the biblical verse (Psalm 118:22) that taught us the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, Manyalo music genre has proven to be the sort after cultural icon of Sekhukhuneland. It was on Saturday 12 May 2018 when droves of Manyalo Cultural ensembles from all the 31 wards of Makhuduthamaga gathered in Jane Furse RDP Park for the ground breaking 1st Annual Tsa Manyalo Music Festival.
Before the festival the Manyalo Cultural Performers as the name indicates were known to be performing in weddings and other festivities as entertainers, paid as little as R200 or R500 in a good day. The much underrated and often denigrated Manyalo music and dance genre has made a breakthrough as Makhuduthamaga Local Municipality pioneered the first Manyalo Music and Dance competitive festivity through which the champion of the genre was regally announced in a prize giving ceremony.
According to the Mayor of Makhuduthamaga Local Municipality who was also the host of the 1st Manyalo Music Festival Cllr Minah Bahula, her municipality together with Makhuduthamaga Arts and Culture Council will go all out to raise the standard of Manyalo music genre to be accorded the reward and dignity it deserves.
“This is the music that resides in people’s hearts, it make grandmothers dance, escape their stresses, energise them and give them a sense of purpose in their advanced age. It is the music that brand our people uniquely, and it is increasingly creating a value chain as most of it is produced locally by our own homegrown music producers” Mahor Bahula said
She officially opened the festival by greeting hundreds of community members and fans who gathered at RDP Park for the electrifying spectacle, flanked by MEC Rob Tooley of Limpopo Treasury, Executive Mayor Cllr Keamotseng Stanely Ramaila and Mayor Bellah Kupa of Ephraim Mogale Local Municipality which is known for Ditrupa Cultural Festival held annual on 02 January. This trailblazing initiative is supported by Makhuduthamaga Arts and Culture Council as the custodians of arts and culture in the local municipality.
In his message of support to the 1st Annual Manyalo Music Festival Cllr Keamotseng Stanley Ramaila of Makhuduthamaga Local Municipality said it’s time for the communities of Sekhukhune to embrace authenticity in their cultural representation.
“We can only attract foreign tourists if we do our own things in our own unique way. Latin Americans have their dance and so is Ballroom and other dance genres, this is our chance to show up for who we are by taking our electric slide dance of Manyalo and upgrade it as a dance sport. Manyalo dance and music must be supported to its deserved international acclaim” said Executive Mayor Ramaila
After hours of wrestling for the number one spot in the historic inaugural Manyalo Dance and Music Festival Mayor Minah Bahula and Executive Mayor Ramaila congratulated all the Manyalo Music Groups for setting the stage alight and demonstrating the worth of this genre to be supported and continued.