Saturday, July 26, 2014

Traditional Basotho Dancing: Litolobonya

Video used with permission by RPCV Aparana Jayaraman
 Pre-school girls are performing a traditional Basotho dance called litolobonya. 

   Last Christmas, I spent part of my day watching women in the village perform a traditional Basotho dance in a tiny dusty room.
   Several women beat the drums like the instruments owed them money. Others shaked and shimmied to the beats while clutching cups of joala, traditional Basotho beer. One woman got so drunk that she ended up singing and dancing off-key in her birthday suit.
   Welcome to litolobonya (dee-toh-loh-bon-ya).
   Litolobonya, which translates to old clothes, is one of several Basotho dances performed by women in Lesotho. It's an exhaustive dance, mainly working the abs, thighs and hind parts. I know, honey, I've done it!
   It's also an exclusive dance. Only married women and mothers can attend the concerts in the village. I get a pass because I'm a teacher and a Peace Corps Volunteer.
   Men trying to catch a glimpse of the action can be lashed. For they will reap the rhythmic rewards later on in the bedroom;)
   However, young girls are taught the dance because women believe they have to learn how to move their hips at a very young age. So many primary and secondary schools have litolobonya teams that compete at cultural events around the country.
   Teachers at my school also have a team, and we practice daily. Our dresses are made from old maize meal bags and bottle caps. The songs we sing tell tales of sorrow and sexual exploits. We will sing "Ke na le hauta!" while pointing to our heavenly parts. Song translation: "I have gold!"
   I would share pictures and videos of the village litolobonya concerts but the women here won't let me capture those intimate moments. They cook, clean and constantly care for others. Litolobonya is the only thing they have for themselves, they say.

No comments:

Post a Comment