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RUNNING HEAD: KIZOMBA LOVE

Kizomba Love Nicole Powell Georgia State University

Kizomba Love

African Heritage has always been of great interest to me. Ive always heard Africa was plentiful, rich in culture as well as the birth place of civilization prior to slavery. However, I heard very little of great things in association with Africa post slavery. Being identified as an African American has come with its share of positive and negative cultural reflections due to differing stereotypes and prejudices projected though the media, education systems and the mediums. Through a culture immersion into African dance I was able to identify fresh feelings and concepts to rejuvenate and revitalize previous viewpoints and thoughts I held. It will be an ongoing objective to continually share the truly amazing aspects of African culture to combat ills facing this group. Prior to stepping into the African culture while actually wearing investigatory lenses, I was guilty of holding shallow perceptions. After reading the popular book ROOTS by Alex Haley at the age of twelve I felt the people who still lived in Africa were lucky to not have been captured as slaves. I believed they still lived in a motherland that encompassed flowing waterfalls, shade trees that produced a variety of fruit and miles and miles of green grass grazed by exotic animals. As I grew into my teen years and television became more intertwined into my daily activities I saw more and more infomercials of children in Africa dyeing from hunger and sickness in need of donations. These depictions along with documentaries showing topless dusty Africans replaced my previous imagery of the motherland from regal to uncivilized. Though I was very sympathetic to the turmoil this group of people seemed to be facing my youthful perception of Africa was uncontrollably growing bleak. However I maintained hopes and aspirations for the up-lifment of my people in the land of my ancestors. In high school I met Seth Amoo who introduced me to his family who had just arrived from Africa who confirmed that Africa was indeed beautiful and plentiful and advised me to never fall prey to the false portrayals displayed on television. From then on, I initiated and maintained personal friendships with individuals from Africa starting with an excited request for a description of their home. For this reason I no longer allow media to negatively shift my viewpoint of Africa. It has been my goal to consciously acknowledge and address the social and economic issues facing this continent with as much factual information as possible. I believe this approach keeps me open-minded and receptive to new information that I hope would contribute to providing heartfelt, positive and effective resolutions when working with individuals from this cultural group. In my quest for cultural dance events I was very fortunate to have been introduced to Benie Duvall who is an instructor of the Kizomba (pronounced key-zum-ba) and invited to take part in dance lessons that would graduate me from a viewer to a participant. The dance instructors have videos uploaded to the popular website YouTube that they encourage new participants to watch before coming to class to acquire some familiarization. As watched the uniquely passionate couples dance I became enthusiastic and eager to embrace this dance I had never heard of before. I was intrigued when came across Jos Ndongala who is recognized as an international Kizomba promoter and instructor who has been sharing his experience in countries such as Belgium, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, UK, Luxembourg, Germany and the U.S. Ndongla considers himself an advocate who is working to promote the contact between people, within the framework of the cultural diversity of our society, through dance and to transmit the true meaning of the expression the pleasure of the dance while providing an additional way to keep a healthy life.( Zoukstyle 2013). As was introduced to the techniques and the mechanics of the dance I had a huge grin planted on my face. The instructor and his assistant were patient,

Kizomba Love

kind and funny. The rhythmic music filled me with energy and excitement. Mr. Duvall led me in a personal dance to contribute to my experience and invited my friend and I to an event that would be held later that same evening, where we could meet and dance with experienced Kizomba dancers. At this event I was able to ask him about his experience and culture. Though Kizomba in an African dance it is popular all around the world. He learned the dance while attending school in France. He started of teaching friends the dance and until they insisted he become a professional instructor. His friends believed in him and love the dance so much they became his sponsors first funding the studio to being the promotion team. Natives from Africa face the same prejudices and limitations as African Americans native to the U.S. These limitations are seen in employment, housing and government aid such as health care. In parts of Africa there are civil wars contributing to mass deaths and forced evacuations. Other parts of Africa have a lack of provisions necessary for sustainability. There are also areas of Africa rich in resources and thriving economically. It is our job as social workers to celebrate the successes and advancements that contribute to satisfactory living conditions and to discovery, rectify, challenge the inadequacies. My encounter with this culture as taught me to make these separations and not allow one realization replace another. I learned that Africa is the largest continent with so much diversity that it is impossible for one reality to project its entirety.

Kizomba Love

Reference Zoukstyle, Devagarinho, Kizombalove, "Jos N'dongala Kizombalove Methodology", "Kizombalove: Summer in the City ", "Kizombalove Summer Festival Zouk Style Copyright 2006-2013 retrieved from: http://www.kizombalove.com/-Home,48- Nov 27, 2013 Duvall, B Interview with verbal agreement