The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has confirmed the death of a 9-year-old girl who died after falling while running away from masquerades (Zvigure) at a school in Mabvuku, Harare on May 15, 2023.
In a statement, the police said investigations are ongoing. Reads the statement:
The ZRP confirms a sad incident in which a 9 year old girl died after falling to the ground while running away from masquerades (Zvigure) at a school located along Sinini Drive, Eastview Phase1, Mabvuku, Harare on 15/05/23. Investigations are in progress.
Masquerades, also known as “Zvigure,” are traditional dancers who wear masks and perform during cultural ceremonies in Zimbabwe. It is unclear why they were at the school in Mabvuku, Harare, but it is possible that they were hired to perform or were part of a cultural event taking place at the school. The circumstances surrounding the incident are still under investigation by the authorities.
The dances originated among the Chewa ethnic group. The Chewa people are primarily found in Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique, with smaller populations in Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
The history of Zvigure in Zimbabwe can be traced back to the early 1900s when Chewa migrants brought the dance to the country. Over time, the dance has become an integral part of Zimbabwean culture and is performed during traditional ceremonies, such as weddings and initiation rites.
The dance is characterized by its use of masks, music, and colourful costumes, and is often accompanied by storytelling. The masks used in the dance are intricately carved and represent different characters, such as ancestors, spirits, and animals.
Zvigure, also known as Gule Wamkulu in Malawi, is a traditional dance performed by the Chewa people during initiation ceremonies. It has been recognized by UNESCO as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity and is considered an important cultural tradition in both Zimbabwe and Malawi.
While the dance is not inherently violent, there have been instances where the use of Zvigure masks and costumes has been linked to violence and criminal activities in Zimbabwe.