Rivals! Adapt or die

Dance / Amazwi Auditorium

There was a time when youth gangs controlled the streets in the locations of Tantyi and Fingo Village in Grahamstown. No one crossed the line without fear. Everyone remembers, but few talk.

The roots of the stubborn rivalry go deep into the heart of the history of the Eastern Cape. Mfengu and Xhosa competed for space and place in the mid-1800s as colonization took control. Survival in the changing world meant making choices, to adapt or die. It all played out in the streets of old Grahamstown. Finally, the spirit of liberation overtook all else and even crime was stopped.

Local pantsula stars, Dlala Majimboz, combine with the Best Foot Forward after-school dance project in capturing the defiant spirit of the youth of the past 150 years. This true secret history explodes into view for the first time.


Co-directors: Likhaya Jack, Julie Wells
Executive Producer: Julie Wells
Choreographer: Likhaya Jack
Music: Likhaya Jack
Dancers: Dlala Majimboz and Best Foot Forward dance groups
Research assistants:
Dumisa Mpupha
Ntomboxolo Donyeli
Ashwell Adriaan
Informants from Fingo Village and Tantyi: most prefer to remain anonymous
Photography: Anele Rala
Production Advisor: Khanya Ngcuka
Staging Advisor: Cailyb Prinsloo
Lighting: Amazwi staff

Funding support: Rhodes University Research Committee
Archival materials:
Cory Library
Western Cape Archives and Records


Likhaya Jack is a Makhanda-born and raised pantsula dancer. He enjoys staging historical stories in creative ways. Previous performances at the National Arts
Festival include Umnqa! Never Defeated and Rhythms of Makhanda. He has travelled internationally to the United States and Germany, demonstrating his skills in bringing stories from the past alive by using pantsula. He currently teaches in the Best Foot Forward after-school programme.

Prof. Julie Wells heads up the Isikhumbuzo Applied History Unit at Rhodes University History Department. The Unit popularises little-known stories of local and
regional history, using formats that make them accessible to the general public. From its work with many local artists, the Unit has developed a special focus on creative history. Wells has published widely on both public history in South Africa and early colonial encounters in the Eastern Cape. Her latest book is The Return of Makhanda, Exploring the Legend. All work is informed by gender-awareness.

Dlala Majomboz is a Makhanda-based dance company that was established by Thozamile ‘Rocky’ Mngcongo in 2004. Its purpose is to educate through dancing. It
does primarily pantsula dancing, but also other forms of dance and drama. Best Foot Forward is an after-school dance project sponsored by the Isikhumbuzo
Applied History Unit. In addition to teaching dancing to young people, it stresses positive life skills. Students from Ntsika Junior Secondary School in Joza are the
most active participants.

  • Venue: Amazwi Auditorium
  • City: Makhanda
  • Location: AMAZWI Museum, 25A Worcester St, Grahamstown, Makhanda, 6139
  • Ticket Price: R40.00
  • Programme Type: FRINGE
  • Genre: Dance
  • Duration: 40 mins
  • Ages: ALL AGES
  • Language: English
June 24, 2023   12:00 - 12:40
June 25, 2023   10:00 - 10:40
June 26, 2023   16:00 - 16:40
June 27, 2023   18:30 - 19:10