The incredible journey of the toyi-toyi, southern Africa’s protest dance

The incredible journey of the toyi-toyi, southern Africa’s protest dance

The toyi-toyi is a high-kneed, foot-stomping dance, rhythmically punctuated by exhaled chants and call and response.

It can be observed at almost any kind of protest in South Africa and Zimbabwe today. In South Africa, university students toyi-toyi when they protest against fees, while township residents might toyi-toyi when they object to the presence of ‘foreigners’. In Zimbabwe, the opposition party toyi-toyis to protest the ruling party’s abuses, while ruling party supporters might toyi-toyi when they want to evict white farmers.

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