Showcasing South Africa’s Homegrown Dance Culture

Published 2 years ago
Jiva feature

IF YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE SOUTH AFRICAN entertainment scene, the term JIVA is not foreign to you. Netflix has now marked South African dance on the map with this new original five-part series. FORBES AFRICA spoke to the stars of the show, Noxolo Dlamini and Candice Modiselle, a day before its release.

South African actor and dancer Dlamini, who plays Ntombi in JIVA, is ecstatic about her breakthrough lead role, not only from a personal perspective but also from the lens of highlighting how “deeply rooted” the South African dance scene is.

“I am hoping audiences will take away that we are more alike than we seem but more importantly, highlight how big the dance culture is in South Africa,” Dlamini says. “And also how seriously we take it.”


South African BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing professional, Oti Mabuse, took to Instagram to celebrate the release of the new series, also commenting on how the show touches on the importance of South African dance.

“How they use our homegrown dance styles and [how] they’ve managed to capture how we see South Africa,” she posted.

“The riots, taxis, street markets, the difference between living in the township, city, and the countryside and all inspired by dance or through dancers’ eyes!”

Dlamini and Modiselle hope that this will educate people in understanding and respecting traditional artists not only in South Africa but in Africa as a whole.


“The world needs to realize what work we can bring on an international level,” says Dlamini.

“The [world needs to know the] fact that we have seen Africa as a whole being documented from a very Eurocentric and Western lens and perspective in a way that does not do justice to the authenticity of who Africa is,” Modiselle adds.