Seeing ‘Last of the Mohicans’ in tiptoe dance

STILL dominating radio airwaves this weekend are Diamond Platinumz’s recent projects; Enjoy that Jux  featured him and Achi, his latest collabo with Koffi Olomide.

Both projects are doing well as Enjoy has drawn over 8 million YouTube views, its audio version parades over 10m views while Achi has carved close to 5 million views, whose growth in the number of views seems to be less explosive than his previous projects with three megastars of the Congolese music; Innossy B, Fally Ipupa and Koffi himself. It is still baffling how Yope Remix, Inama and Waah quickly raked in over 465 million views worldwide.

Though it is still early, it seems hard for the newly executed projects to beat his earlier collaborations, especially Yope Remix which alone roped in over 208 million views. Inama, his duet with Fally Ipupa, has drawn over 135 million views while Waah, his first collabo with Koffi Olomide has fetched over 122 million views.

All of the works Diamond collaborated with Congolese megastars and others he did with great artists from the U.S.A, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Kenya, Yope Remix stands an edge above the rest to the extent it has become an anthem of pan-African dance.

A fan who identified himself as Michael Moonwalking best described what added a new dimension to Yope Remix’s beauty. He said Diamond dancing was incredible.”I saw that Moonwalk at 3:49 You can always depend on Africa to continue the legacy of the Late King of Pop.

This song is truly amazing.” A fan who identified as The Familesso added: ‘Diamond is the greatest thing Africa has never had.

His genius approach and his talent are beyond any African nation has provided. An African man is talented, coordinated and representing.

He is the Michael Jackson of Africa.” Samuel Opole said upon the release of Yope Remix: “Diamond Platinum is indeed a professional in the field of music.

I like this.” Jerry Chosen joined saying: “The person who created this beat is a demon, I can’t stop dancing. From Congo DR, Russell Kabamba responded 10 months ago.

“The beatmaker is Ddjizo Balume the elder brother of Innosy B.” Someone introduced himself as Yuuuuii added: “This song is not only a hit but a movement!” Sayit Alexandra said: “Right, this is undiluted African sound, our own sound very rich, the bass line is the definition of a club banger.”

A few weeks after the release, Usman Sheriff said: “Diamond Platinum is just from another planet…he can never disappoint him even if, he has a feature on India song…love from Sierra Leone.” “Diamond is King of dance & music,” added Prageetha Sanjeewa from Sri Lanka.

From Ghana, Tik Laugh said this two months ago: “I am from Ghana. I Don’t understand the language but I am Jamming to it.” “Banger can’t wait to get to the house and learn all the dance moves… Banger!!! Much love,” said Winny Julie, a few days after the release of Yope Remix.

What is so hypnotising in Yope Remix, according to the views of many youthful music fans in Tanzania and Kenya, the majority of them school children, is Diamond’s tiptoe dancing style popularly known as Kiduku whose form resembles Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk. Since the early 2000s,

The Kiduku style has been one of the most popular forms of dance in Tanzania, popular and performed by people of all ages, but most popular with children.

Kiduku dance won the hearts of the children because they are the only ones who can manage to dance it while standing on tiptoes. Only youths aged below 15 years managed to perform it easily.

Even Diamond stood on his tiptoes for a fraction of a second when he danced his remarkable part in Yope Remix, which as per comments from Michael Moonwalking and The Familesso borrows heavily from Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker dancing.

Despite its bizarre look and mastering complications, Kiduku dance has made an immense contribution to promoting Bongo Flava which has now won a global appeal.

Kiduku dance accompanied many great Bongo Flava hits released in the mid-2000s from Marlaw’s Pii Pii to Alikiba’s Cinderella. Kiduku was already widely danced when Diamond Platnumz released his eponymous hit, Moyo Wangu.

Owing to its physical nature, Kiduku has lost its grip in today’s Bongo Flava hits, but it is still danced in Singeli, a suburban music genre played by energetic performers and a hairstyle favoured by artists and football players.

Still, however, it is hard to establish a connection between the Kiduku dance style and the Mohawk hairstyle promoted by the former Manchester United star, David Beckham. Kiduku has remained as a hairstyle that the then Manchester United’s star, David Beckham introduced to the world as the Mohawk style.

It is taken from the Novel and a movie titled The Last of the Mohicans written by James Fenimore Cooper in 1826. Every Tanzanian today knows Kiduku as a dance style for children and the hairstyle of the Amerindian.

Tanzania, whose majority of residents are fans of Manchester United, named David Beckham’s Mohawk hairstyle Kiduku and it became both dance and hairstyle from the early 2010s to the present day David Beckham’s Mohawk style went viral and became a global issue after the then Man United Coach, Sir Alex Ferguson forced Beckham to shave off his Mohawk style in Wembley toilets.

The mohawk or Mohican hairstyle is a style in which, in the most common variety, both sides of the head are shaven, leaving a strip of noticeably longer hair in the centre.

Mohawk hairstyles have existed for thousands of years.The style re-emerged in the 2000s, with some of the popularly known wearers being Travis vocalist Fran Healy, David Beckham, Elijah Wood and Mario Balotelli. For historians and book readers, Kiduku, as both dance and hairstyle, seems to draw close to King Solomon’s Mines( Mashimo ya Mfalme Suleiman in Swahili version) and The Last of the Mohicans. King Solomon’s Mines (1885) is a popular novel by the English Victorian adventure writer and fabulist Sir H. Rider Haggard.

It tells of a search of an unexplored region of Africa by a group of adventurers led by Allan Quatermain for the missing brother of Sir Henry Curtis, one of the party.

The central attraction of the novel is Gagool(Gagula in his Swahili version) who is described as a wizened monkey- like creature. She is the wise woman of the Kukuanas who performed a tiptoe dance in her witch-finding exercise to locate men who opposed King Twala and have them executed.

The Swahili version of King Solomon’s Mines is among the most-read books and its chief characters; Allan Quatermain and Gagool remain among the most admired characters to date. It is Kiduku’s tiptoe dancing style that makes it similar to what King Solomon’s Mines described as Gagool’s witchhunting dance.

Still, besides its controversial nature, Kiduku as dance and hairstyle are clean cultural practices now being cherished by fans of music and arts across the globe.

  • Miguel Suleyman is a Tanzanian ethnomusicologist based in Dar es Salaam

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