TUFO- MOZAMBIQUE

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TUFO DANCE, MOZAMBIQUE

Women dancing in a side street of Macuti Town, the poorer part of the iIlha de Moçambique, with densely packed homes made in local style. Dance is called a "tufo" which is of Swahili/Arab origin, and is done from Ilha all the way north to Tanzania. It is performed at weddings or VIP reception. On Ilha de Moçambique "tufo" is signature dance of the area. This dance was to benefit the local community, and at the end the dancers all gave money to one of the dancers, and the amounts were recorded with the names of the givers. I was told that this happens every weekend at a different home as a way of helping people gather enough money to fix up their homes or purchase much needed items.

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Performed mainly to celebrate “Islamic festivals” is a Southeast African dance form known as Tufo.  This “religiously significant” dance is said to have originated from Mozambique, and is regularly performed in provinces such as Cabo Delgado and Nampula mainly by groups of women. In addition, as of today this dance is performed by men only on rare occasions. Furthermore, culturally speaking this dance has been heavily influenced by the Makhua culture. The song used in this dance style basically comprises of social and political themes.

a. History/origin of Tufo:

According to a popular legend in Mozambique, it was while Prophet Mohammed was on his way to Medina that he passed through this Southeast African country. It was then upon his arrival that the people of Mozambique welcomed him by performing a dance. Furthermore, this “welcome dance” was liked and approved by the prophet, and hence the people of the country continued to perform this dance (as a part of tradition) especially during festive occasions.

b. Costumes used in the Tufo:

The costume mainly used in this dance includes capulanas i.e. a kind of sarong comprising of colourful prints and scarves to go along with it.

c. Music involved in the Tufo:

The musical instruments mainly used in this dance style are flat tambourine like drums. In addition, the music is accompanied by singing which is mainly performed by a lead singer. Furthermore, the lyrics for the song used in this dance are usually written in the Makhuwa Arabic, or the Portuguese language.

d. Training availability and technique involved in the Tufo:

In terms of technique, traditionally this dance involves performers rhythmically moving their upper bodies to the music produced by tambourine drums, which is also accompanied by singing. However, as of today (due to gradual evolution) this dance involves the use of the whole body as opposed to just the upper body. As for training centres/schools, there are none available throughout the world since this “religious” dance is mainly performed in Southeast Africa in a country called “Mozambique”.

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