Super folk dance inscribed on the UNESCO list of intangible heritage

Seperu folk dance & associated practices from Botswana have just been inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List of Intangible Heritage. The List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding is composed of intangible heritage elements that concerned communities and States Parties consider require urgent measures to keep them alive. Safeguarding them is about the transferring of knowledge, skills and meaning. Intangible cultural heritage includes oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

The Seperu folk dance and associated practices involve singing, dancing and sacred rituals that are highly significant in the lives of Veekuhane community members. Seperu is a celebratory practice performed during ceremonies that mark important milestones in the community members’ lives. In the dance, the women form a horseshoe, while male dancers face the women at the end of this horseshoe. The lead dancer uses a fly whisk (seditse) to direct and choose the female dancer, while other members of the group imitate the sounds of a male dove.

The selected female dancer then shows her dancing skills by reflecting the image of a peacock tail with her multi-layered dress (‘mushishi’). Although the Seperu folk dance is a key symbol of identity and pride for the Veehukane, its knowledge bearers and active practitioners have diminished in number, affecting its visibility and transmission to the younger generations. Currently, there are only 194 active practitioners, with twelve master practitioners, all of whom are over seventy years old.

Let us be encouraged to remember and uphold our traditions and practices so that they may live on for generations to come.

For more information visit : http://bit.ly/UNESCOSepeduFolkDanceBotswana

Source: UNESCO

Country(ies): Botswana / © Cowhorn Production and Veekuhane, 2018 / Duration: 00:10:22 – Support: – (0150200005)

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