Clanwilliam is one of the 10 oldest towns in South Africa and is only two hours’ drive from the Mother City. It's nestled in the Olifants River Valley at the foot of the magnificent and extensive Cederberg mountain range. Clanwilliam is small, but is full of history and heritage, with plenty to see and do in and around its borders. It's also home to the local Riel dancers. Born out of traditional Khoi and San ceremonial dances around the fire, the Riel Dance has been practiced by descendants of these indigenous cultures for many years.
Recognised as a form of cultural expression, Riel dances include courtship rituals, and mimicking typical animal antics along with lots of bravado, showmanship and foot stomping in traditional outfits.
Leading the Riel renaissance...
From humble beginnings in the remote, impoverished village of Wupperthal, choreographer, manager and coach Floris Smith and his phenomenal 'Trappers' have taken the Riel dance scene by storm, winning award after award.
Born out of traditional Khoi and San ceremonial dances around the fire, the Riel Dance has been practiced by descendants of these indigenous cultures for many years.
They returned triumphantly from Los Angeles as national heroes, after having danced their way to victory – bringing back Gold in the Ethnic Folk Dance category, and scooping no less than three Gold medals, one Silver, and putting South Africa's oldest indigenous ethnic folk dances firmly on the global map.
Floris Smith is currently based in the town of Clanwilliam, but be on the lookout for the Riel dance group still in many events locally and around the Western Cape.
These magnificent photos are supplied compliments of Gale McAll Photography, call 0827761940.