Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tofo Tofo (Mozambican Dance Group)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases the ddance group Tofo Tofo from Mozambique, Southeast Africa. Information about Mozambique is included in this post along with information about Tofo Tofo and their South African style of dancing which is known as "pantsula."

The Tofo Tofo group is best known for their collaboration with African American R&B/Pop singer Beyonce in her video "Who Runs The World" (Girls). That video is included as a bonus in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Tofo Tofo for their dance expertise and thanks to Beyonce for her collaboration with this group. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

"Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique (Portuguese: Moçambique or República de Moçambique,.. is a country in Southeast Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west, and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest. It is separated from Madagascar by the Mozambique Channel to the east. The capital and largest city is Maputo (previously called Lourenço Marques before independence)."..

"Tofo Tofo Dance Group is made up of three Mozambican men who integrated Kwaito music and Pantsula dance to create their own unique type of dance that has become internationally celebrated. This new form of movement has brought local African dance onto a global stage.

The word "tofo" means body shaking in the local Mozambique language [in]* Maputo, the area the members of this group are from. The group creates this expression of movement through their combination of dance and music. Both the Kwaito music and Pantsula dance originated in South Africa as ways of expression during the time of Apartheid."
I substituted the word "in" for the word "of" that was in this article because the sentence stating that "tofo means body changing in the local Mozambique language of Maputo" can be read to infer that "Maputo" is a local language. Actually, there's no language called "Maputo". Maputo is the capitol of Mozambique. I'm not sure which "local Mozambique language" is spoken in Maputo. (As there may be more than one local language spoken in that city, I should have written I'm not sure what local language spoken in Maputo the phrase "tofo tofo" comes from.

At .031 in the video given as Example #2 below, the spokesperson for the group responds to the question what does "tofo tofo" mean by saying "body shaking" and that's from a local langaguage in Mozambique. He also gives a demonstration of that body shaking which is more rhythmic butt shaking from side to side than the overall "shimmy" like body shaking.
[return to Wikipedia excerpt]

The music genre that the Tofo Tofo dance troupe dances to is called Kwaito music, a form of South African house music. This genre started developing in the 1990s. The term Kwaito is derived from the Afrikaans word kwaii, which means strict or angry, although in more common and contemporary use the word is a loose translation of the English term cool...

The type of dance that the Tofo Tofo dance troupe use in their movements is called the Pantsula dance. Pantsula became a popular form of dance in the 1980s when it was used as a means of expression during violent Apartheid times in South African townships, starting mainly in the streets of Soweto...

Pantsula is an energetic and spontaneous expression of the lives of people in the townships. It is described as a flat-footed African tap-and-glide style of dance. The term Pantsula means to waddle like a duck or alternatively to walk with protruded buttocks, which is a characteristic of the dance.[8] In many ways, Pantsula is akin to modern day hip-hop. It is similar to Western-style break dancing for the people in South Africa. They would dance using props, such as brooms, cans or sticks, musical instruments such as large bass drums and dance theatrically as if they were performing on Broadway.[8] The competitive spirits of Pantsula footwork, rhythm and beat were revealed in the streets- characterised by competitions of who could perform the most creative dance of Pantsula.

The evolution of Pantsula is shown through the transition from a township thug dance to the fame of the Tofo Tofo dance troupe...

Rise to fame
World super-star Beyoncé Knowles came across a YouTube video of this group performing. After five months of searching for these men with help from the US Embassy in Maputo, the Tofo Tofo Dance Group was found and flown out to Los Angeles, California to introduce and instruct Beyoncé and her dancers their native dance moves as well as be a part of Beyoncé’s hit music video, Run the World (Girls)...

Where they are now
After their big break with Beyoncé, the men of Tofo Tofo have continued their performances with stars. They have performed opening acts for Fat Joe and Ciara, however this time, it was in Mozambique, their native land. They have continued to perform locally at weddings and other private events."

These videos are presented in chronological order based on their publishing date on YouTube, with the oldest video given first.

Example #1: Tofo Tofo (Beyoncé - Run the world)

uffeman77 Uploaded on Aug 2, 2009

Mozambican kwaito dance group Tofo Tofo dancing at my wedding
Music: Nisho Njalo by DJ Cleo
My guess is that this is the video that Beyonce saw that led to her months long search for the group and finally collaborating with them in her 2011 "Run The World" video.

Example #2:Beyonce & Tofo Tofo


Joel Ken, Uploaded on Jul 5, 2011
Here's a comment from this video's discussion thread:
Mario Meyer, 2014
"This dance is not traditional Mozambiquecan and the dance is called PANTSULA, took them 4 months to find the guys when everybody in sa [South Africa] can do it check these school kids dancing on beyonce's music search for the video: PANTSULA DANCE 2013 HD ...FILMED BY STREETCORNER FILMS
Here's a link to that video:

Example #3: Tofo Tofo jig...


Abdikarim Mohamed, Uploaded on Oct 12, 2011

They danced at a wedding in Mozambique and years later, Queen of pop and R&B superstar Beyonce snapped them up for her award winning music video. The Mozambique dance group, Tofo Tofo has grown to become a global sensation after Beyonce's 'run the world girls' won 'Best choreography in a video' at the 2011 MTV music awards. Here's their performance at Tribe Hotel during the YouTube Kenya launch.
"Jig" here is an American English word meaning "dance".

Example #4: Tofo tofo no + jovem

Gabi Caruso, Published on Mar 13, 2013

moçambique , tofo tofo no +jovem, dança muuito

BONUS VIDEO: Beyoncé - Run the World (Girls)

beyonceVEVO, Uploaded on May 18, 2011

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