Diware. Di...What? That is a dance style of the Hambukushu people that for years has been confined to the northern parts of Botswana around Kasane, Etsha, Gumara, Maun, to name a few.
For the first time many Batswana and many viewers of Btv across Africa would be privileged to enjoy this unique Botswana dance heritage by Hambukushu dance groups from Parakarungu, Satau, and Shakawe.
According to one of the dance coaches of this dance style in Shakawe, Matseo Kanyoka, Diware, whose group, Mushamba Wa Kasi is one of the three to be participating at the SSKB on Sunday, says Diware dance is actually a traditional Hambukushu healing ritual. She says the ritual is still alive today in places like Maun, Gumare, Etsha, Kasane, where traditional healers use song and dance to revive a patient. She tells Showbiz that traditionally the Hambukushu would consult the healer, then the song and dance would start as woman, dressed in long skirts, and shawls on their shoulders, cap hands and sing Tjimbukushu healing songs for the medicine-man. The climax of the ceremony is when the medicine man successfully cast away the sickness, reviving the patient into a healthy, vibrant person, who immediately joins the medicine man with some energetic dance moves in celebration of the healing.
Kanyoka says unlike other dance styles, the Diware performance is built around the medicine man and the patient, who perform the dances while the women sing Tjimbukushu songs and clap hands.
She says the Diware dance differs in many ways with the dance for the now popular Basarwa healing songs, Uwee, which are part of the Tsutsube dance style, which will also feature on Sunday.
"There are a lot of differences between us and the Basarwa or Tsutsube healing dances. As you will see, in our culture the singers wear formal clothes, as they clap and sing, while the patient and the doctor only wear special regalia", she explains, adding that the other interesting part of the dance is the healing theatrics performed by the medicine man.
This will not be the first time that a new dance move is unveiled to many Batswana, thanks to the Heritage month festivities. Last year Sebirwa dance was televised to multitudes of Batswana and southern African audiences for the first time, as the reed blowers from the Eastern side of Botswana showcased a dance style not known before in many parts of the country. It was not just the graceful orchestration of their flutes like instruments, but the dance style and the dance wear were something many local traditional music followers were seeing for the very first time, simply because the Sebirwa dance had for decades been confined to certain parts of Bobirwa, unlike other traditional dance forms like Phathisi, Tsutsube, Setapa, Hosanna and others.