Video: Sbujwa

7 December 2012The Guardian

South Africa: Sbujwa on the streets

Its origins may be unclear but the Johannesburg street craze that moves every muscle is mesmerising to watch

I had a treat when I was in Johannesburg recently. I was about to jump into a cab when this van pulled up and out piled these colourfully clad kids. With their exit came the loud, blasting house-sort of music, then the dance moves, taunting, shouting matches, some alcohol, and street fashion … but at the end of the day it was about the dance.

Joburg street dance

Young South Africans do the sbujwa in Johannesburg. Photograph: ‘kola’

I was mesmerised to say the least. A quick inquiry informed me that the phenomenon I was witnessing is called “sbujwa” – apparently not a new sight in the city. It is described as “a dance that requires every muscle in your body to work in order to complete moves”, plus lots of creativity.

There are differing views as to its origin, as seen here and here. Wherever it might have originated from, it was a delight to watch. I found a short documentary on sbujwa on YouTube (above). And here’s another example:


Click here to view the video on mobile

I’m hoping some “anthropologist” might be interested in researching and explaining this and other street dancing phenomenons in Johannesburg.

You’ll find the rest of my photos here.

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