Umoja Continue with ‘Visit Swaziland’ Campaign

Howard Mavuso, Swazi Observer, 16 July 2010

The 2010 soccer World Cup might be over, but South African Dance group Umoja will continue marketing Swaziland.

Even though the number of tourists who visited the country during the World Cup has not been massive, Swaziland Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer Eric Maseko said Umoja would continue with the ‘Visit Swaziland’ campaign during their international tours.

On May 22nd, Ligcabho LaMhlekazi shared stage with Umoja at the Victory Theatre in South Africa. Swazi dancers and Umoja rendered stunning performances. The event was attended by business people and celebrities. Among the celebrities was Terry Pheto (SA actress).

Maseko said “Though the number of tourists we were expecting was not convincing, we are very grateful that the world cup has been successful. There may be a number of reasons why we could not attract more tourists. One of them might be the issue of the economic global crunch which affected the whole world. Last week, Umoja appeared on SABC 1 showcasing Swazi culture on Selimathunzi which indicates that everything is going according to our plans. Our relationship with the group has not elapsed and they will continue marketing the country in the international world.”

The CEO further thanked the South African government especially the organising committee from Mbombela. Umoja is a group formed by two long-time friends. Todd Twala and Thembi Nyandeni met each other while growing up in the townships during the South African apartheid era. Through their drive and careers they got a rare chance to see the world outside. Only a few “black shows” with tribal dances were allowed by the white rulers as they were regarded as primitive and harmless folklore.

“When apartheid was finally abolished in 1994, working conditions improved and in late 2001 the show “UMOJA – the Spirit of Togetherness” premiered in London’s West End. Umoja and its cast emerged from a dance school in Soweto. An admirable project aiming to keep kids out of trouble and off the streets. But make no mistake: This is not a group of street children playing for a penny. These are now 36 professional dancers, singers and musicians capturing audiences and critics all over the world.