Three hundred and fifty thousand African youths, most of them illiterate, leave their homelands each year to work at the gold mines along Johannesburg's famous reef.
LV Johannesburg, mine wheel in F/G
GTV PAN mining area with slag heaps
CU Pit-head wheel
SV Miners doing Austrian-style dance in stadium (4 shots)
GV Crowd watch
GV & SV Men in traditional dress and feathers doing war dance (3 shots)
SV Europeans in audience
GV PAN Dancers continue war-dance
GV & SV Dancers wearing feathers and bells in traditional dance(4 shots)
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Background: Three hundred and fifty thousand African youths, most of them illiterate, leave their homelands each year to work at the gold mines along Johannesburg's famous reef.
One of the highlights of their leisure pursuits, and a popular tourist attraction, is their dancing each Sunday close to their place of work. Here one can see the pounding drums and stamping feet of primitive African tribal dance, performed by ordinary workers purely for the fun of it.
Each tribe has its special dance, and there are signs of European influence too in the performances. But mainly, this is an exuberant example of African culture, kept alive by young men working far from their homelands.
SYNOPSIS: Each Sunday in Johannesburg against a background of mining machinery and slag-heaps the spirit of traditional tribal dancing is kept alive. Here on the glistening yellow gold dumps the young Zulu, Xhosa and Basuto tribesmen who work in the Johannesburg mines take off their overalls and tin helmets, and don loin cloths and animal skin capes. Three hundred and fifty thousand African youths leave their homelands each year to work in the gold mines along Johannesburg's famous reef, and this is also the setting for some of their leisure.
The 'mine-dances', as they are known, have become one of South Africa's most popular tourist attractions. Practically every dance programme now includes the Bhaca 'gumboot' dance, borrowed from Austrian folk dancing. The Bhaca people originally created the dance when taught an Austrian dance by a missionary.
Different tribes have their own specialities. One favourite is the so-called Zulu war-dance. When the Zulus became known as fierce fighters last century, they used the 'stamping dance' as a way of establishing discipline among their young men. It had the function of military drill, and therefore became known as a war-dance.
Probably the most spectacular dance of all is the shaking dance of the Xhosa people, traditionally performed by young men before a ceremony of initiation into manhood. They strap three rows of small bells round their chests and ripple their bodies to make them sound. They provide their own tinkling accompaniment as the shuffle back and forth in alternate fast and slow movements. The dancers will continue this performance after the public performance is over, with unflagging vigour. They can easily forget the machines and shafts which remind them of the working week, until Monday morning comes round.