It was 1979 and I had just started primary school. That summer was the first time I witnessed what later became known as iskokotsha, a craze that would, in the euphoria of a newly independent Zimbabwe, trigger the focus of motion in popular dance to snake decisively, seductively, up the body, from the feet to the hips – a sex pantomime of outrageously suggestive moves that enthralled our young nation for the decade to come. Being onomatopoeic, iskokotsha is derived partly from the beat of the snare-drum rim and the appropriate twirling of the body to that rhythm. The dance takes on a fuller character when understood by its other name, kongonya, which alludes to the carefree, if not contemptuously deliberate, rhythm in the gait of a large stubborn animal. The day I first saw the dance was the day we had expected to end with the execution of my maternal grandfather.
more from Brian Chikwava at Granta here.