Safi Theatre performs improvised traditional ngoma music (drumming and dance), blending their unique and lively shows with acrobatics in order to create an exciting mix of traditional Tanzanian Music and artistic creativity. Musically the group plays a variety of danceable and energetic tunes by using traditional percussive instruments as well as other contemporary ones which includes Snare drum, Conga flutes and Toms.. The dancers are young girls and boys, aged between Twelve to Twenty years. Most of the members started performing at a very young age, usually from 7-8 years. Until 2015 the oldest member of the group is the leader and artistic director who is aged 35. He is the one in charge of all the trainings and directions of the group’s performances, he himself is equipped with extensive experience in acting, dancing and playing traditional instruments since his childhood. His name is Ramadhani Maneno but popularly known as Pendapenda. Their shows (Safi Theater) are always very engaging and explosive from the beginning with a reputation of keeping the audience on their feet throughout shows.
The group is good in adapting to the nature of the event, for example if the event involves kids they also include children games, which can also involve the older audiences, the reason which makes them perfect for family events.
“Most traditional music styles are always played and showcased in the same way for generations, so after some time they become boring. This is the reason we decided to blend acrobatics and dance to create an interesting mix”, says group artistic leader, Ramadhani “Pendapenda” Maneno.
During recent years they have performed at Bagamoyo Festival, Music Crossroads, SADC Dance Festival (Harare), Sauti za Busara Music festival, Olympic torch Tanzania rally and several social and corporate events around Tanzania. In July 2009 Safi theatre participated in the 2nd Pan African Festival in Algeria where they shared same stages with the likes of Kassav and Manu Dibango. In June and July 2014 safi Theatre was invited for a tour of Germany where the performed in several venues as well as 3 performances on the stages of the annual Festival Rudolstadt. In February 2017 the group participated in the 31st annual Saruj Kund Mela taking place in Haryana New Delhi India where they stayed for 3 weeks.
Most of the members are coming from poor families and the group is an important support for them and their families. Most of the contributions collected during the shows are used for school fees of some of the members. The group is also a project, which trains drumming, dance and acrobatics to kids from around the suburbs of Dar es Salaam. Apart from performances, the group offers percussion, dancing and marimba workshops to various schools.