From dancing on the streets of Maputo to featuring on global pop icon Beyonce Knowles’s latest music video – this was a dream come true for Mario Buce and Xavier Campione of the Mozambican pantsula group, W-Tofo.
The duo have now placed their country on the map after appearing in one of the most talked about dance scenes on the international star’s new music video for her new single, Run the World (Girls), that will feature on her forthcoming album, “4”.
In the video the two are the only males on the singer’s side of the “boys vs girls” video concept, with dance moves that are bound to be familiar to many South Africans.
In an exclusive interview with City Press, the two dancers spoke about how Knowles saw a Youtube video they had recorded at a wedding.
“She called one of the promoters in London, who knew a dancer in Maputo.
The dancer called to tell us Beyonce wanted to meet us.
We couldn’t believe it,” said Buce.
Last month the two were flown to Los Angeles, where they met with the singer and taught her their signature kwaito and makwaela (Mozambican dance) moves over three days.
“She’s a very good dancer and caught on very quickly,” said Campione.
“Throughout she was very friendly and kind even though there were some communication problems because she doesn’t understand Portuguese.
But she learnt anyway.
We even taught her a Mozambican word, ‘matimba’, which means power. She now uses it when she tells someone to dance with more energy.”
After the rehearsals came four gruelling days shooting the video.
According to local musician Stewart Sukuma, who features W-Tofo in his live performances, the dancers are popular in Mozambique and are always in demand.
“They’ve been dancing for three years and people love them but this is the first time anyone is taking them seriously,” said Sukuma.
Asked if they were compensated for their troubles, both young men insisted it was never about the money but the exposure.
“It’s a pity that every time they want to watch their video they have to go to someone else’s house because they come from a poverty stricken background and have no internet,” said Sukuma.
The video has now launched a kwaito dance craze in Maputo.
“I just hope our youth are inspired by this,” said Sukuma.
“Africa Day is on Wednesday and it is time we realised that if we’re to make our mark in the world, we have to present something uniquely from our culture.”