Tuesday, May 24, 8867

Mining in South Africa (1867) - Gumboot Dance

[Johannesburg Gold Mine]

Mining in South Africa has been the main driving force behind the history and development of Africa's most advanced and richest economy. Large scale and profitable mining started with the discovery of a diamond on the banks of the Orange River in 1867 by Erasmus Jacobs and the subsequent discovery and exploitation of the Kimberley pipes a few years later. Gold rushes to Pilgrim's Rest and Barberton were precursors to the biggest discovery of all, the Main Reef/Main Reef Leader on Gerhardus Oosthuizen's farm Langlaagte, Portion C, in 1886 and the consequent rapid development of the Witwatersrand gold field, the biggest of them all.

South Africa - Zulu Miners - Gumboot Dance

The African Gumboot (or Welly Boot) Dance is an African dance that is performed by dancers wearing Wellington boots. In South Africa, these are more commonly called gumboots. The boots may be embellished with bells, so that they ring as the dancers stamp on the ground. The dance likely originated among South African gold miners.

Many of the steps and routines are parodies of the officers and guards who controlled the mines and workers barracks. Gumboot dancers are a common sight on the streets and plazas of tourist areas in South Africa, such as the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

The album Graceland by Paul Simon has a song titled Gumboots, which is performed in the style of South African township jive (mbaqanga) and contains performances by members of the Boyoyo Boys.

[Gumboot Dancers in Capetown, 2007]

[8868 Joplin / 8867 South African Mining / 8866 Satie]