Zimbabwean dancer Beverly Sibanda has been named the winner of the 2015 African Storm Dancehall Queen dance competition. She scooped the award – and a cool R25 000 (about US$1700) - on Thursday 26 November at the Bassline in Johannesburg, shrugging off competition from dancers from across Africa.
The annual African Storm Dancehall Queen competition is organised by Johannesburg-based, Zimbabwean-born ragga artist Jah Seed (real name Adrian Anesu Mupemhi), who made a name for himself in the music industry in the 1990s as part of groundbreaking group Bongo Maffin. He also co-hosts the popular Reggae Nights at the Bassline with Andy ‘The Admiral’ Kasrils, which has been entertaining reggae fans every week for an incredible 20 years.
The recent contest saw a vast array of performances, with judges marking contestants on skill, musicality and creativity. The competition was co-organised by Hillary Mutake, CEO of Punchline Entertainment. Contestants had to be over 18 years of age and holding a valid passport. The night saw South African dancers doing battle with dancers from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Nigeria.
The winner was voted by the packed audience. Bev's display of flexibilty, booty shaking and gravity-defying tricks earned her the top place and excellent feedback from the crowd and judges, who were "wonderfully and magically impressed" by her entertaining dance routine and theatrics.
Bev’s manager, Hapaguti Mapimhidze, was ecstatic about the dancer’s exploits. “As Bev’s management we are very excited. This shows that the girl is very talented. The competition was very tight with many girls from across the continent. There were over 25 contestants and she outclassed all of them,” he told New Zimbabwe.
Mapimhidze said they have lined up several celebratory shows across the country. “I have talked to popular music promoters and they have agreed to line up shows for the girl. Other dancers will also come in to join the celebration,” he told New Zimbabwe.
A well-known but controversial figure in Zimbabwe, Bev has carved her name in the entertainment circles as a wild dancer who can perform with virtually anything from poles to bottles. Her sensual dances have made her a favourite among men, who throng to her shows. Bev said she has evolved from being a pole dancer to a “complete professional performer” comfortable dancing to a variety of genres, from sungura and rhumba to the dancehall tunes that have now earned her the title of Dancehall Queen.
See photos from the event here.