dancing the night away with manthe ribane

Every once in a while you meet a special kind of person who radiates warmth and positivity. Manthe Ribane is one of South Africa’s most talented Pantsula dancers and one of those people.

by Francesca Dunn
22 July 2016, 8:55am

Manthe Ribane moves like a dream. Following the path of her late mother, the Johannesburg native specialises in Pantsula, a dance that originated in the surrounding townships as a response to the apartheid government. When she dances, Manthe lets the music take her, an overwhelming energy surging through her body as she completely owns the fast-paced footwork. 

"There are times when I cry on stage," she says. "It's a transcendent power. I'm in a trance and I want to express as much as I can. It's so important that your audience feel it too." Manthe's footwork skills saw her perform for Nelson Mandela as a child and led to her being noticed by Die Antwoord, who she has toured with extensively and choreographed videos for. Aside from her dancing, three years ago Manthe and her younger siblings formed the art collective Dear Ribane, transforming their Johannesburg home into a studio and turning their hand to everything from photography and videography to set design, styling and performance art. 

She's at the heart of her hometown's rapidily growing art scene, a scene she describes as "inspiring and full of passion. People are fearless." To round off her long list of talents, Manthe sings too. In fact, you might have heard her Tswana vocals on fellow South African Okzharp's recent Hyperdub release. The record garnered attention across the globe, for which Manthe thanks the internet and the fact that, "Online there are no borders - you don't need a passport! That's the powerful thing about being a young person in the world now; the only person that can limit you is yourself."


Text Francesca Dunn
Photography Edd Horder 
Styling Raphael Hirsch 
Make-up Dele Olo
Styling assistance Surgil Khan
Manthe Wears all clothing Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci

manthe ribane
edd horder
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pantsula dancer