Black Umfolosi celebrates 41 years at Bulawayo Theatre

Langalakhe Mabena

Imbube fanatics and staunch Black Umfolosi fans are set to be treated to a stellar performance as the legendary outfit is set to celebrate its 41 years in the arts industry through a gig slated for 3 November at the Bulawayo Theatre.

Black Umfolosi is a tight, seamless act, with perfect harmonies and well-synchronised dance steps performed with high energy, and pure joy and pride in their shared heritage shining through.

Their repertoire, which veers from lively leaps and whistles to smooth melodies, has engaged and enthralled audiences around the world.

With the year 2023 also marking the 20th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, adopted in 2003, Black Umfolosi are already ahead in the process of passing the baton to the next generation.

On the day of the performance, Black Umfolosi will comprise of founding members as well as their children in the name of Sotsha Moyo, Austin Chisare, Luzibo T Moyo, Judy Chisare, Witness T Dube, Zenzo Hlaseka, Thandeka Moyo as well as Lulamila Q Moyo.

Sotsha Moyo

Young members who are still learning and growing under the Black Umfolosi training programme in the names Bukhosi Mlotshwa, Lumbie Moyo, Lebani Moyo, and Spu Chisare, will also be unveiled at the show.

“It’s a time for families to come out and expose their children to this vibrant art, of which all of us can be so proud. As we mark 41 years as an ensemble, I would like to say thank you for standing with us, for celebrating our shared heritage, and for embracing the soul-stirring magic of Imbube.

“This is a gig that most of our fans and Imbube lovers will cherish as we have well groomed the people who will continue the legacy even in our absence,” said founding member Sotsha Moyo.

Black Umfolosi have always led the way in revolutionising Imbube and taking it to another level and new direction – from its early development through warriors, miners, and beer-drinkers, to a professional staged art, honed and perfected for both local and international platforms, where they have been well received since the 80s, and a proud part of their vivid Intangible heritage – and legacy for the future.

On the international stage, they became in such high demand that they spent more time travelling than performing at home.

The market kept growing to the point where Black Umfolosi has toured on all the continents, performing in many countries: in Africa and beyond, from Europe to the US and Canada, Malaysia to the Caribbean – and the group continues to be invited back again, up to the present day.

Black Umfolosi is a living heritage. Sotsha Moyo explains that Imbube was previously dominated by men because of the environment from which it grew – the battleground, the mines, the beer halls, but it was never strictly confined to men only.

Interestingly, Black Umfolosi all have daughters-whom they have conscripted into the group, and it is so fitting and in perfect sync with changing times that women are now stepping up to Imbube, with the bar set at the high level by their fathers.

Black Umfolosi has recorded 14 albums between 1990 and 2023.

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