An exceptional dance for African women


African dance serves several purposes in communities. Some dances serve to impart knowledge and traditions in a community, some help define a person’s role within society and others are just for celebratory moments.

Whichever the purpose may be, traditional dance is tied to culture and beliefs.

Moribayassa is a joyful dance for women who have overcome great difficulties in life. The dance is popular among the Malinke people of West Africa. It is also practised in other African countries such as Mali, Guinea and others.

The dance started as a way for a woman to thank God for giving them a child after a long period of infertility and to this day it plays an important role in the lives of African women.

The woman would pray and beg God for a child. If her prayers are answered, she celebrates and performs the Moribayassa dance after a period of time as a token of gratitude to God.

The Moribayasssa dance begins by a tree, traditionally a mango tree, the woman wears old ragged clothes while acting crazy like a maniac, carrying all sorts of weird objects on her feet, hands and head.

 She then circles around the village accompanied by other women singing and dancing the Moribayassa together. The point of all this craziness is to show that the woman is extremely happy, so happy that it’s like she’s crazy.

With the beat of the drum, the woman moves their hips from side to side while the feet pound the ground. The drum symbolises life and a heartbeat.

When the woman reach a tree, she stops and changes the old clothing and bury it in a special spot

Although the Moribayasa still remains to be performed exclusively by women in some parts of Africa. In other parts of the African continent they perform it at festivals, joyous occasions.

This unique dance has received a lot of attention from foreign audiences and tourists.


About Author

A qualified journalism alumna from the University of Johannesburg who’s passionate about writing and story-telling. She believes in social change, shifting the narrative around social behaviours and relations such as stereotyping, racism, and to live in a society where we can all be free to exercise our human rights. Busisiwe lives by this famous quote by the great Nelson Mandela “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.

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