Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Singing and Dancing with Siyaya in Zimbabwe

When you live overseas as an American citizen you are assigned a Public Affairs Officer (PAO).  This person typically meets with you shortly after you arrives, checks in with how and what you are doing sporadically, and if you get into trouble, you call your PAO.  My PAO, Amanda, came to visit me at UB about a month ago.  During our visit I told Amanda about my background, what I am teaching and about my research.  At the time Amanda mentioned she was getting ready to host a U.S. Embassy youth exchange between Botswana and Zimbabwe.  Since the youth exchange was related to wildlife conservation, economic opportunities and health, she asked me if I would be interested in being a guest speaker since my field covers two of the three exchange topics.  I agreed and rather than just guest speaking for an hour, I spent the entire week with her, 30 high school students from Botswana and Zimbabwe and another 20-30 adults and chaperones.  I will talk more about the youth exchange in another post, but for now I wanted to share a small part of the experience with you. 

While we were in Zimbabwe there was a cultural program in which the students performed.  In addition to the students’ performances, a local Zimbabwean group called Siyaya came and did a routine.  The group’s manager also talked to the students about the value of the arts, education and finding a passion.  He was great.  Siyaya was formed about 25 years ago and performs all over the world.  They’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Europe, and I can understand why; they are excellent.  Unfortunately, this video does NOT do the group justice at all.  The lighting was poor and my video camera died right before the best song of the night, but here is a short clip from the nearly one hour concert we enjoyed from Siyaya.  I have to say, this is one of things I will miss most when I leave Africa:

No comments:

Post a Comment