The following is what our team member and dance teacher Ana wrote about her experience of travelling to Johannesburg to give a semba/kizomba workshop with her partner Crisóstomo. It was her first time having such an experience and we thought it would be cool to share these notes with you all!

While translating this text from Portuguese, we decided to not correct mistakes nor change the structure of the sentences, to maintain it as close to the original as possible.

When I received the information that I could take a trip out of Angola, to teach, I was thrilled and very happy with the news, because in fact I could have never imagined that I would leave Angola for the purpose of teaching dance. Our dance school (the Turma do Basico) was invited by a dance group from South Africa, and I and Crisóstomo went to represent our school.

I was also worried because I didn’t have a passport, so I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to leave on time, it was a struggle to get this document, but thanks to Crisóstomo Tiago, who is the Director of the school to which I belong (the Turma do Basico), who worked so hard for me to get the passport, at the end everything went well and we managed to get through this phase.

A young black couple sitting at a restaurant and smiling at the camera
Me and Crisostomo having breakfast in Johannesburg

On March the 29th, we left Angola for South Africa, where our colleague Caterina, who is the coordinator of the Association Join Angola, was waiting at the Johannesburg airport with Tash, the teacher of the school which we would have the exchange with (BailaAfrika).

We arrived at dawn on Friday, they took us to an apartment where we could spend only one night because Tash didn’t like the apartment very much, I and Crisóstomo thought it was beautiful.

At 10 o’clock on Friday they came to pick us up to have breakfast together: I, Crisóstomo, Tash and Caterina. After breaksfast we went to our next apartment, where we stayed until the day of returning to Angola. Tash and Caterina were pleased with the apartment, me and Crisóstomo too, we found the apartment very beautiful.

Still on Friday, after dinner, we decided to go to a party, we learned a bit of other dances like salsa and bachata, the evening was profitable, we had a lot of fun. We had to leave a little early to rest, because the next day we would give our first class.

On Saturday morning, Tash came looking for us to have breakfast. At 11 am we went to the workshop location, where we had a salsa class with Baila Afrika dance school. At 1600 I and Crisóstomo had our first presentation, our first exchange with the group.

For me in particular, it was a bit difficult because I was interacting with people of various nationalities, because I

A group of women is standing in a line facing a young black girl (Ana).
Giving tips on ginga to the ladies on Saturday

couldn’t get a message straight to them, because I couldn’t speak English. Caterina was my translator and Thokozani was a translator for Crisóstomo. Thokozani is the partner of Caterina and one of the members of Join Angola. Fortunately we had a good relationship with the people, because they were people who had the desire to learn. The class was a success.

On the same day, we celebrated the 7th anniversary of Baila Afrika dance school. We had a great time. Caterina had organized a small contest during the party, in the case of the man, the best leader would win, and in the case of the woman, the best follower would win, and I and Crisóstomo had the privilege of being the judges. Caterina and other members of Join Angola, prepared gifts for the winning couple.

After the contest, I, Crisóstomo and Caterina went home to rest.

On Sunday morning, I, Caterina and Crisóstomo, had breakfast in our apartment, we rested a little, and at 4pm we went to a party organized by Baila Afrika group. We danced a lot, the party was good, but we had to leave early because the next day we would have the second exchange with the group, and I and Crisóstomo were very sleepy.

6 young people smiling at the camera.
Join Angola and BailaAfrika’s teams together

In the morning on Monday we had breakfast, we enjoyed going out with Tash to get to know some districts of Johannesburg. On this tour, we met a singer who was selling her CDs, Tash bought a CD and she offered it to us as a souvenir. We had the privilege of listening to the singer sing, she really has a beautiful voice. The tour was cool, but it started to rain, so we had to go to the location of the dance workshop earlier.

We had our second class with the people, everything was easy because we were actually interacting with wonderful people. I, in particular, felt very at ease and proud because with the help of the people I was able to give my best class ever. We took advantage and said goodbye to the group because the next day we would return to Angola.

It was a very good experience.

I would like to thank Join Angola for the effort, the work they have done and the opportunity given to us.

Thank you also to BailaAfrika for choosing and inviting us. We look forward to seeing you again!

Written by: Ana Veira