By Tafadzwa Gambiza
[ Today we speak to a veteran in the dance industry Fungie Chana. He was part of the dancers who participated at the first Jibilika Dance Festival on the 17th of November 2007 at 7 Arts Theatre, in Harare]
Q :: I can safely say you are one of the veterans of the industry and you have greatly shaped the dance industry. What changes have you seen from your early days till to date ?
A :: There is better talent than before. The Dance community has grown and if you are clever you are able to strategize on which style of dance you want to venture into search for an expert in that certain dance e.g Fungie Chana to learn from and go learn them you don’t have to go on YouTube to learn or use Dvds like we used to do it back then.
Q :: Gone are the days when we used to see dancers from across the country coming to dance competitions and festivals. Does this mean we are giving up on dance ?? What’s your take ??
A :: I would not say gone are the days when other dances from other cities would come to Harare for dance competition, because last year on June 12 2019 Break Nation dance crew won the inaugural ZLG Afro joy dance competition and in 2nd place we had the great Supergeeks DanceZw From BYO. In that same year Jibilika Festival hosted Battle Rivalskool dance competition Tanaka Nicole from BreakNation won & dancers from Gweru came and participated the previous year before that Rayaaz Mushina From Gweru had won that same dance competition here in Harare.
We need more Dance events & more dancers from other cities to take part in dance events in and outside of Harare. That’s what we need to say.
Q :: You have a unique style of dance which is mostly practiced in France can we say you draw your influence from France ??
A :: Thank you for the compliment.
The styles that I do are not only dominated in France but all over Europe,Asia,Africa and America
France is a power house in the Hiphop dance scene.
In my career the first major big dance competition I took part in with Inmates dance crew was organized by the Alliance’s de France’s Harare in 2007 Hip-hop Night dance competition.
HipHop Night competition gave me & Inmates Dance crew a big boost till this day I think that is the best dance competition ever to be done in Zimbabwe period.
For those who don’t know. Inmates dance crew were the Inaugural Winners for The first ever Jibilika dance festival HipHop section that was held at 7arts theater Avondale Harare on the 17th of November 2007
Inmates crew Members at that time were the following:
Fungie Chana -Mr Grillz Carter
Blessing Fire -Christyle
Adrian Zinasi -Professor
John Cole – bboy JohnnyBoy
Basil Chirengendure – Dragon
Leroy Moses -bboy rock steady
Francis Fire -Sly
Anesu Gome – Expensive
I am highly influenced by a lot of dancers from around the world and from France i have a good relationship with a few french dancers
Q :: From the 2000s until maybe around 2014 we had so many crew. Now we have more solos. What lead to the down of the crews. ?
A :: The problem and reason why we don’t have a lot of crews and solos is in 2 parts
1. Dance competition organizers would not pay the winning crew the cash prizes. This problem did not affect crews only but also solo dancers experienced it. Lake of true real dance competition with trust worthy organizers.
2. In all dance crews the aspect of leadership becomes a problem Not having one vision kills crews. Money issues kills crews.
Q :: Zimbabwe has been dancing for as long as any other country. Why can’t we compete in other big competitions out there ?
A :: We can compete but these are reasons why we haven’t done so
Lake of planning
Lake of seriousness
Lake of information
Lake of support
Lake of funds
We are not that hungry as we were 12 years ago
Q :: You have mentored a lot of young dancers some are already making a name for themselves. Can you give us a few names ?
A :: Malcom Chirove Professionally known as Malowizy you can look him up on Instagram @Malo_wizy
Liessel Sandram professionally known as Liessel SlimWeng Sandram look him up on Instagram @slim_weng
Sean Ace dj @aceforever
Q :: We have the likes of Roki, Takudzwa Madaka, and many others who are out there uplifting Zimbabwe. What can dance promoters do in uplifting more of these youngsters ?
A :: TK & Roki before they moved out of Zimbabwe you could see the hunger and the passion they kept on going. Promoters & Dance teachers Encourage the dancers not to cut corners. Dance promoters do not pay dancers what they are supposed to get. Dancers listen and learn don’t be those who say “I know it all”, when you don’t.
Learn & practice
Q :: Any projects coming in the near future ??
Yes future projects are coming. You will know in due time.
Q :: Do you see yourself retiring from dance and venturing into something else or this is it for you ??
A :: I do not see myself retiring. I am going to venture into other things but dance I will not stop 🛑 2060 ndenge ndichiripo.