24 December 2009
In less than six months, the event that has focused South Africa’s energy for over five years will kick off, and the country will find itself in the global spotlight as never before. It was with this in mind that South African Tourism set out to capture the nation’s spirit in a dance. And so the Diski Dance was born.
‘Our own township football style’
“Diski” is common South African slang for the game of football, and the Diski Dance is a uniform routine that showcases the country’s passion for the sport. The dance is based on what Wendy Ramokgadi, the choreographer of the Diski Dance, calls “our own township football style”.
“The whole idea was that we needed to come up with something that is truly South African,” says Ramokgadi. “Our country’s football is rhythmic, and so all the moves that we use in the dance are those same moves that are used on the South African football pitch, moves you can only find in our country.
“The Diski Dance is one of the things I am most proud of, I really am excited about it,” says Ramokgadi. ‘When these people come to our country, let them come and feel the rhythm of Africa. We must just work, wear, eat, sleep the Diski Dance.”
Getting the country dancing
For Sugen Pillay of South African Tourism, the Diski Dance is about preparing to host the world next year.
“The concept of the Diski Dance is to show our welcoming spirit as a nation,” said Pillay.
The aim is to mobilise the country through the dance, from corporate organisations and schools to government and the general public.
The Diski Dance featured large at Football Fridays’ launch in Tshwane/Pretoria on 30 Oct 2009. Lesego Madumo chats to choreographer Wendy Ramokgadi about South Africa’s signature 2010 dance – watches the Deputy President try out the moves – then gets on the other end of the camera!
During the friendly international between Bafana Bafana, the South African national football team, and Jamaica in Mangaung/Bloemfontein in November, the Diski Dance was taught to the whole stadium during half time.
Bafana Bafana have learnt the dance, Cabinet ministers have learnt the dance and, most recently, one of South Africa’s most popular musical acts, Goldfish, performed the Diski.
Goldfish; viral advertising
The live electronica act, incorporating Dominic Peters and David Poole, have opened for stars like Fatboy Slim, Mr Scruff and Stereo MCs, and hence are no strangers to the best of dancefloor culture.
“We travel the world, excite and unite millions, but for us the biggest fish of all is showcasing South Africa, its people and its dynamism,” says Peters. “We challenge all SA to learn the Diski Dance, showcase their pride and shout to the world ‘bring it on'”.
Through a viral advertising campaign, the Diski Dance has sparked a revolution, as people from all over the country are starting learning to do the Diski – and are finding the experience intoxicating.
“It rocks,” says Colleen Dacruz, an advertising sales executive. “It captures the essence of Africa, and gets deep into its spirit and soul.”
Chantal Lourens, who works in real estate, thinks the dance is fantastic. “When I first saw the Diski Dance, it made me very proud. It’s very contagious, l can see people trying to do it all over.”