Netflix series Jiva! celebrates dance

by | Sep 13, 2021 | Art, CSA Celebrates, Culture, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Music

  • New Netflix African story features dance narrative.
  • 100% African production.
  • Fantastic soundtrack of local hits.
  • Captures urgency, passion and energy of dance culture.

Africa is nothing without our deep connection to music and especially dance. It is woven intimately into our heritage, no matter what country or ethnicity. Music, and its physical expression, dance, are the main proponents driving contemporary African culture forward and international. What is Amapiano without the polyrhythmic fusion of pantsula and bhenga dance steps? Are we even surprised that our U.S, cousin Beyonce came calling and echoed our now iconic steps in her choreography or; that we consistently take over Youtube and TikTok with our special moves?

Netflix bringing to the global stage this heritage in the form of the dance drama series Jiva! is deeply satisfying and relevant. It dives quickly into a lively showcase of South African dances, like amapiano, sbhujwa and bhenga, displaying the treasure trove that is the cultural wealth of the country. In doing so, we are swiftly immersed into the life of Ntombi (Noxolo Dlamini), a young dancer with family issues, a dead-end job and a whole lot of bad romantic experiences, all told on the streets of Umlazi (Durban).

The story takes an urgent and energetic turn with her entering a dance competition, where she also must deal with rivals, sabotage and become the best dancer that she can be. (It’s only her talent and a life changing opportunity on the line)

Jiva! is exuberant, deftly playing as a kaleidoscope of dance, energy, music and colour without being oblivious to the reality checks of politics, corruption and poverty. The juxtaposition of African traditions and fashion along with a respectful nod to SA hip hop culture creates a richness both visually and to story.

Writer, director and producer Busisiwe Ntintili has delivered a stunning 100% African production. She is known for Intersexions(2017) and Happiness Is a Four-letter Word (2016). Also on director duties were Scottness L. Smith, Mandla Dube (who has just completed the film Silverton Siege for Netlfix), and the award-winning Mmabatho Montsho.

“We wanted to inspire everyone who watches JIVA! that there is something hot, new and fresh coming out of South Africa and Africa as a whole. Indeed Africa’s time is now and we want to showcase that,” said Scottness L. Smith, who directed some episodes of Jiva!.

“Our whole team was dedicated to realizing that sense of vibrancy, urgency, passion and energy of a young South African exploring and exposing herself through dance, as told through Ntombi’s story, and putting that on the global stage.”

Busisiwe Ntintili

C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.

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