SanDance! And the Kuru Dance Festival: Promoting and Celebrating Indigenous Culture

By Delme Cupido | August 10th, 2017

In 2016, the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Programme of OSISA, in collaboration with the Youth, Arts and Culture Initiative, provided a grant to renowned filmmaker to document the 2017 Kuru Dance Festival. 

The Kuru Dance Festival is the largest gathering of San communities in southern Africa and has played a critical role in preserving and revitalising a culture that continues to be under threat in an, often, hostile world.  In the face of cultural and social erosion and erasure, the San continue to hold fast to the traditions, dances and ancient songs which form the core of their identity as a people. At the Kuru Dance Festival, they share their pride in their culture with people and cultures from southern Africa and all over the world.

More than twenty groups from Namibia, Botswana and South Africa travel to the Dqae Qare San Lodge, in the Kalahari, or,Kgalagadi Desert for the Festival, and it is a time of great joy as people revel in the opportunity to renew acquaintances, share practises. The Festival also serves an important and sacred healing function for San communities, as it is held every August with dates coinciding with the full moon.

This year, in celebration of the International Day for the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we are proud to present the first trailer from the film SanDance! This film will follow the dancers from their remote villages, as they prepare for the Kuru Dance festival, culminating in their performances at the Festival itself. 

Radiating from the Kuru Dance Festival into the visionary world of the trance-healing dance, SanDance! illuminates the spiritual traditions that underpin ancestral San culture in the Kgalagadi Wilderness. SanDance! gives direct expression to the San as they strive to revitalize their age-old dance traditions in a world that’s unrelentingly hostile to the San’s fragile, yet rich and ineffably beautiful culture.




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