A screengrab of one of the popular versions of the official Jersualema Challenge, performed by the Katlehong kids.
A screengrab of one of the popular versions of the official Jersualema Challenge, performed by the Katlehong kids.

Jerusalema: a song, a dance, and now a film

Time of article published Sep 25, 2020

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Staff Reporter

ON Heritage Day, hundreds of movie industry professionals came together at the Cape Town Film Studios to shoot a film centred on the Jerusalema dance craze.

The official music video for the song by DJ and record producer Master KG featuring vocalist Nomcebo was uploaded to YouTube in December and has had more than 150 million views. Add to this 4.8m views for The Master KG Best Dance Challenge | Katlehong Kids video and the millions more from other videos which hospital workers, schoolchildren, corporates and even priests have posted, and it’s clear the mix has created a viral dance challenge, lifting spirits across the world in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his latest address to the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged South Africans to celebrate Heritage Day on Thursday by participating in the dance challenge.

Master KG said on the public holiday that he was in “disbelief”, having thought the song had reached its peak in January. “And then out of nowhere the song came back.”

The “nowhere” was a group of Angolan friends who posted themselves performing a dance routine to the song. In the video, the first group demonstrates the dance to another group, who interrupt their chores to join in.

The new film, directed by Calvin Hayward, was shot over two days on a custom-built set and features a mass dance sequence.

It comes at a time when film production has been halted because of lockdown regulations. Director Abongwe Booi said the challenge was fun but also an opportunity to highlight the struggles of the film industry, where many people are out of work.

IIE Varsity College staff in Pretoria join the Jerusalema challenge. Picture: Varsity College

In the capital city, staff at the IIE Varsity College and the Lycee Jules Verne French International were the latest to take on the Jerusalema challenge this week as part of Heritage Day events.

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