Sunday, April 7, 2013

Indlamu - The Dance That Ladysmith Black Mambazo Does

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post presents two videos of the South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, with special focus on their performance of the indlamu dance. Three additional videos of other groups performing the indlamu dance are also featured in this post along with information about that traditional Zulu dance.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

"Indlamu (IPA: [ind͡ɮaːmu]) is a traditional Zulu dance from South Africa where the dancer lifts one foot over his head and brings it down hard, landing squarely on the downbeat. Typically, two dancers in warrior's pelts perform indlamu routines together, shadowing each other's moves perfectly. Also often referred to as a Zulu war dance and often performed at weddings.

Indlamu is also the traditional short beaded skirt of young Swazi maidens during the Umhlanga (Reed Dance)."

With considerable regret, I have disabled the comment feature on this blog (and on my other blogs except for, because of the large number of spam comments that I received on those blogs.

Comments for those blogs can be sent to my email address azizip17 dot com at yahoo dot com for possible inclusion in a specific post on those blogs.

Example #1: Ladysmith Black Mambazo ... doin' the dance

Dainon Moody, Uploaded on Jul 23, 2009

Man, they can kick high. From a performance in Salt Lake City, [Utah, USA] filmed on July 22, 2009 @ The Jeanne Wagner Theatre downtown.
Special thanks to ITholeLeNdlovu, who posted this comment in 2012 in that video's viewer comment thread
"It's called Zulu dance or Indlamu".
Prior to reading that comment, I didn't know the name of this high kicking dance that I associated with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and which I had seen in other videos of Zulu dancing.

Example #2: Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Wentomb'unecala Live


LadysmthBlackMambazo, Uploaded on Jan 13, 2011
This video will be showcased in an upcoming post on my pancocojams blog. That post includes my speculation-using an online Zulu to English feature-about the English translation of the title "Wentomb'unecala".
Editor's comment: I'm not sure if all of Ladysmith Black Mambazo's movements while they sing are a part of the traditional indlamu dance. It seems to me that some of their movements are part of the theatrical technique of "mime" (pantomime). An example of this is when all of the members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo wave their hand in the well recognized gesture for "hello" while singing the English word "hello" as part of their performance of the song "Homeless". Maybe miming was always part of isicathamiya singing or is now a part of isicathamiya singing which is the type of singing that Ladysmith Black Mambazo does.
Click for information about Ladysmith Black Mambazo.


Example #1: Pretty Zulu Girls show their Wedding Dance.

Jan van der Meer·Uploaded on Apr 28, 2008 Beautiful Zulugirl Mafuthi Mathenjwa works at the Simunye Community Tourism Association Office (sponsored by DaimlerChrysler) based at the entrance of Khula Village a small rural settlement next to the Dukuduku Forest on the fringes of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park in Zululand.
Mafuti is the pretty receptionist and dancer in the nearby Veyane Cultural Village we filmed her and the dancers in a wedding song for YouTube. They like to become famous and attract more tourists, so tell them please you saw her here on YouTube. This tourism office is the first in South Africa to be entirely owned and operated by members of the local community.

Example #3: Zulu dance Indlamu yokuqala.MP4

Makhungv Uploaded on Jul 13, 2010
Kulendlamu Kwakungumemulo Esijozini eMsinga

Example #3: PAMATA - Indlamu - Musaion 03.06.2012

PAMATAGROUP, Published on Jun 4, 2012
"Indlamu" is an isiZulu traditional dance style to show strength.

PAMATA (Pan African Music and Theatre Arts) is a cultural and skills development organisation started in 2008 to develop, educate, nurture and inspire South African youth through the arts and culture.

The performers are: Blessing Rammego, CalvinGifted Manyaka Wa Mamphela, Elsie Zondo, Humbulani Mathivha, Nhlanhla Momozana KaMahlang, Reneilwe Madibe, Sammy Blood, Thato, William Lehlogonolo, Zoe Mhlanga, & Julius Kyakuwa

Pamata Director: Charles K. Mugerwa
Artistic Director: Julius Kyakuwa

Musaion Auditorium (University of Pretoria) - 03/06/2012
Notice the drummer who is wearing a dashiki. The members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo also wear dashikis.

"Dashikis" were created in the late 1960s by African Americans who patterned them after the Yoruba male attire known as "dansiki". That clothing attire is not traditional to South Africans. But the exact same dashiki colors & patterns worn by that drummer in this video was very common in dashikis worn in the USA during the late 1960s/early 1970s.

Information about dashikis can be found in this post on my pancocojams cultural blog:

Women wear tops in all of the videos featured in this post. However, some other YouTube videos of indlamu dancing show women topless, which is the traditional way that this dance was & may still be performed.

Thanks to all those who created indlamu dancing and my thanks to those who performed, and who now perform this dance. Thanks also to the producers of these videos and thanks to their publishers on YouTube.

Thanks for visiting zumalayah.

Zumalayah showcases videos of dances & singing games done in circles or in lines, and other movement performance arts from African American culture, from African cultures, and from other cultures of the African Diaspora.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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