Although the girls dancing attract most of the attention, the soloist who sings is sharing some of the most remarkable music to be heard, even in the Republic of South Africa. The sounds produced by the drums and the soloist, are in themselves unique and arresting, and in the context of the moonlight the scene is intensely moving.
The Venda Snake Dance performed in AFRICA UMOJA (also know as the Python Dance) is performed at a ‘Domba’, a Venda pre-marital initiation ceremony, which is held at the request of the chief towards the end of winter. This ‘rite of passage’ event symbolizes the last day in the life of a Venda girl or boy. Various rituals are particular to the Venda and certain aspects are kept secret and not discussed with westerners, however, it is known that the python dance, conducted at the female coming of age ceremony is usually where the chief chooses a wife.
Girls dance fluidly, like a snake, to the beat of a drum, while forming a chain by holding the forearm of the person in front. Once a wife has been chosen, the tribe spend the next few days with grooming and courting rituals.