The Riel Dans Meets Hip Hop

One of the oldest recorded forms of traditional dances, the Riel Dans, has seen a resurgence in popular culture over the last few years. On the 29th of April 2017, the Riel will be going head to head with one of the most popular forms of artistic expression, Hip Hop.

Known as Ikhapara in Nama, the Riel derives from ancient Khoisan artistic tradition and generally depicts a man trying to impress a women by movements derived from nature. Thanks to the work done by people such as Elias P. Nel, the Riel Dans have been reintroduced into popular culture through initiatives such as the annual national Riel Dans competition.

Much like the Rieldans is a form of cultural expression for the Khoisan, Hip Hop became a form of cultural expression for African Americans youths who later incorporated into a form of political protest. During the years of apartheid, it was also incorporated into local artistic scene as a form of protest against the system of oppression by pioneers such as Grandmaster DJ Ready D.

Dubbed the ‘Riel Van Hip Hop’, the event on 29 April is described as “a celebration of our rich diversity”. It will incorporate the storytelling of the Riel Dance with the foundation of Hip Hop through creative spoken word, dance visual art and social commentary.
It will include pioneers such DJ Ready D and Emile YX?, and features Afrikaans singer and musician Frazer Georgio Barry, along with the acclaimed singer and actress Zenobia Kloppers on lead vocals. It will also include Nam-Afrikaans rapper V.I.T.O.,soul singer and songwriter Jerome Rex, rapper Hakkiesdraad, cabaret artist and writer Des-Lee McKenzie, dancer and drummer Deniel T. Barry, and storyteller and Khoisan cultural activist Dr. Willa Boezak. The production boasts the winners of the 2016 Riel Dance Competition (Die Betjies van Betjiesfontein) and four of Cape Town’s best Hip Hop dancers; and features live music by the TopDog SA4 band, graffiti on stage by artist Mak1one (Maxwell Southgate) and animation by Amy Brown of Last Born Pictures.

The event forms part of the 14th annual Suidoosterfees in Cape Town and will be staged at the Artscape Theatre Centre Opera House at 15:00.

For more information on the event and how to get tickets, please visit their facebok event page, ‘Die Riel van Hip Hop’.