She presented the young dancers with fabric for their attire

Botshelo Selogilwe

Botshelo Selogilwe

Mama Angel this week cheered up young dancers of the Isigi traditional group when she graced them with her presence.

The dancers could not control their excitement when they saw Mama Angel arrive with a roll of fabric to design their dancing attire.

The group is based at Braamfischer in Soweto. It was founded by Joel Mthethwa and his wife Thokozile.

Both Joel and Thokozile are professional dancers who performed in musical shows such as Ipi Ntombi in Canada in 2001.

"My father used to be one of the organisers of cultural festivals.

"I used to go and watch performances at the Market Theatre and my interest gradually developed," said Mthethwa.

"We started the group nine months ago when we realised that children have nothing to do after school as they live in an area where there are no recreational facilities.

The dancers are between the ages of four and 21 and are divided in two categories.

"The first category comprises the younger ones between four and 13 years and the older ones are between 13 and 21 years.

"Both categories practise at different times because they go to school," says Mthethwa.

The Isigi dancers were invited to perform at the Market Theatre in July. They also perform parties and cultural events.

The dancers thanked Mama Angel: "We are happy for the fabric and we thank Sowetan for giving us this opportunity. Dancing keeps us healthy and away from the streets."

Thokozile is also responsible for designing the dancing clothes of the dancers.

"I wish to plan a Christmas party for the children because I want to see them happy.

"We would, therefore, appreciate any funds to make that happen, " she said.

Mthethwa once performed in the 51 states in the US with a group called Amabutho.

The group consisted of 150 performers, of which 16 were from South Africa.

They performed in New York at Madison Square Garden under the company of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey.

The Isigi dancers plan to showcase their talent and perform at bigger cultural festivals or events.

They also want to have their own base that would house the growing number of new members, joining them.

"My aim is to open an arts academy for the children to enable them to take part in drama, music and different dances," says Joel.