UFH - Dancesport Medals

With the 2024 season having barely started, Fort Hare’s dancers have already sounded a powerful warning to their rivals – they are ready to compete and win big.

Student Wanzi Maxhobi and 2023 graduate Lorenzo Swartbooi, who will represent South Africa at the Worlds in Germany in November, recently danced away with the top prize at the first leg of the National Champions League in Durban.

The event is one of three that serve as qualifiers for the 2025 World Professional Standard Championships.

Coach Thandisizwe Matyumza was further buoyed by the performances of dancing pairs Phumelela Mqalo and Thandeka Mhlanga and Lonwabo Ndzundzu and Nontando Tsheleza, who placed third and sixth respectively in the Rising Stars category.

Champions League rookies Luphumlo Sifuba, a benefactor of Fort Hare’s community outreach programme in villages around Alice and East London, and UFH alumnus Tumeka Madikane placed sixth among the elites.

The coach was pleased with the performances of his charges against some of the best dancers in the country.

“I’m happy with these results. For some it was their first attempt [at the Champions League] so they managed to get vital experience.”

Before KwaZulu-Natal, there was the not-so-small matter of the Alice institution winning 39 medals at the Amathole Championships, the first of three competitions earmarked for provincial selection.

UFH - Dancesport Medals

Even the humble Matyumza was moved to say that it had been “a walk in the park” for his students, many of whom had never competed at this level.

They took the top three positions in most of the categories they competed in and, in some, annexed the top six slots in an event that hosted competitors from districts across the province.

“It was like those trophies were just there for us,” the coach said.

Every category had a full complement of competitors, which meant nothing was handed to them on a platter.

The rapidly rising profile of dancesport at Fort Hare has drawn its biggest ever intake (54 athletes) this year.

Having a sizeable class, Matyumza said, meant that UFH had a presence in every section, which gave them more opportunities to secure silverware.

The next provincial competition takes place in Komani in the Chris Hani District next week.