Impilo Mapantsula : The role of imagination, narrative and story-telling in IsiPantsula culture and dance

Thursday, 22 May, 2014 - 14:00

a talk by Dr. Daniela Goeller, post-doctoral research fellow, Research Centre Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD), University of Johannesburg, FADA and Research associate at Université de Paris 1 Sorbonne / CNRS, Esthetics of Performing and Spectacular Arts (EsPAS)

IsiPantsula is a prominent popular sub-culture, that emerged in the 1970s and incorporates language, dress-code, music and dance. The youth found their pride in competitions where elegance and originality of dress is combined with strictly encoded and virtuoso dance-movements. The streets of the townships were the stage where to transform the fears and joys of everyday life into a creative and inventive lifestyle and to express the spirit of survival and brotherhood.

In this presentation, I am going to talk about the role of imagination, narrative and story-telling in IsiPantsula culture and dance and how stories are expressed and acted out within a sub-culture that is uniquely South African. I am looking at how stories ares told through dance and how they are linked to a specific historical background and everyday life.

There is not one way of defining IsiPantsula as much as there is not one way of dancing IsiPantsula. The story of IsiPantsula is as manifold as the people who are identifying themselves with this culture. Documenting IsiPantsula culture necessarily means to record the stories – as they are told by the people, shown in the dance and expressed in their lifestyle – and revealing the unifying components within these stories.