From KwaMashu to the world as young dancers dazzle at Global Water Dance Festival

Published Jun 6, 2023


Water is a vital resource that is essential for all life on earth, and its scarcity can have severe consequences for both humans and the environment. Water resources, throughout the world, are under serious threat.

KwaMashu School of Dance Theatre (KMSDT) have joined forces with international dance companies to shine the spotlight on the growing global water crisis.

Set to take place on Saturday, June 10, in different countries including South Africa, Ghana, Germany, Peru, Italy and the US, the global dance community will reunite to raise water scarcity awareness.

Themed “Waiting for Water” a group of 150 young dancers from KwaMashu and surrounding areas will transform the Durban Lagoon Park, Green Hub into a global stage as they deliver world-class performances, to promote sustainable water practices.

KMSDT wants to encourage individuals, communities and world leaders to take action in preserving the water resources.

Speaking to IOL Entertainment, KMSDT founder and director Vusi Makanya said he is thrilled to be part of this global movement that impacts dance that advocates for change in local communities such as KwaMashu.

“Water scarcity is one of the most significant environmental issues of our time. Thus, an urgent need exists to develop effective adaptation strategies for coping with this crisis.”

“After the June 2022 KZN floods, we have seen the rain affecting the water infrastructures and many households in different communities around KZN.

“The community of KZN is suffering from water cut-off from time to time and due to water loss, we wait for water for hours in long queues, so “Waiting for water” is a site-specific performance that highlights water conversation, safe water, and clean water for all.”

According to Makanya, the dance piece is set to inspire positive change, encourage dialogue, and mobilise individuals and communities towards finding sustainable solutions for water resource management.

“I believe that dance allows us to tell our stories through our bodies. Dance is a medium of expressing one’s feelings and emotions without the spoken language but through movement.

“A year after the floods, the people of KZN are still struggling to find water. So the piece is based on the actual experiences where people are seen in long queues, waiting to get water from the water tanks. It’s very disheartening to see people, in 2023, still queuing for water.

“The piece also touches on the burning issue of gender-based violence. We see women getting raped and violated while trying to get water for their families in rivers and dams … some of these women walk 5km to get the water, so we needed to include women abuse in our dance piece.

“We have cancelled our dance sessions many times because of water issues. I have asked myself how these young people and their families survive when they don’t have water in taps for more than five days."

KwaMashu School of Dance Theatre. Picture: Supplied

The piece also addresses issues of women empowerment.

“In South Africa, women are mostly affected by the water crisis, as they are often responsible for collecting water. This takes time away from work, school, and caring for the family. The lack of water and sanitation locks women in a cycle of poverty.

“Empowering women is critical to solving the water crisis. When women have access to safe water at home, they can pursue more beyond water collection and their traditional roles. They have time to work and add to their household income.

Makanya also urged local dance groups and institutions to take part in global initiatives such as “Global Water Dance Festival”.

“We joined the movement in 2019, and to date, we are still the only dance group from South Africa. I would like to encourage other groups to take advantage of such opportunities as they open doors for many young people to showcase their talent on the international stages.”

The global event is free and open to the public. It starts at 2pm at Durban Lagoon Park, Green Hub.

The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. Picture: Facebook.


“KZN Philharmonic’s 2023 Winter Season”

Where: The Playhouse Opera.

When: June 8 - 19.

The “KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2023 World Winter Symphony” Season is back, featuring a stellar line-up of international and local talent including young Polish conductor Anna Sułkowska-Migoń, who won the 2021 prestigious La Maestra competition in Paris.

Other performances include young Dutch violinist Rosanne Philippens, renowned Japanese maestro Yasuo Shinozaki, Bulgarian virtuoso Emmanuel Ivanov and South African conductor Lykele Temmingh.

KZN Philharmonic season tickets are available at Quicket for R150.

For more information call 031 369 9438, email [email protected] or visit