Our print was inspired by the vibrant and energetic Gumboot style of dancing.
Growing up in Zimbabwe, there was a shared culture with South Africa, encompassing food, film, dance and music. As a child, I was drawn to the Gumboot dance purely for its fun and energetic nature, without really delving into its deeper meaning. But as an adult, I have come to appreciate how our dance styles can reflect both our spirituality and the societal challenges we face.
The Gumboot dance originated in South Africa during the Gold Rush of the 1800s, when miners from various tribes, such as Zulu, Yaw, Ndebele, Shona and Tswana, migrated to Johannesburg in search of work. However, these miners were treated unfairly and were not allowed to speak while working in the harsh and wet mine conditions. In protest, they created the Gumboot dance, fusing elements of their different tribal dances to symbolise solidarity and resistance against the mine owners.
Interestingly, the Gumboot dance was born out of a practical need for communication. The miners were forced to wear cheap Wellington boots in the mines, and they used the rhythmic stomping of their boots to communicate without speaking. The dance became a way to express their frustration and connect in a meaningful way.
The Gumboot dance is not just a form of entertainment, but a powerful expression of resistance and resilience in the face of adversity.