Getting Active in Devon Using the Power and Deep Cultural Legacy of African Dance

In our latest podcast Gareth Dix talks to Rebecca Jeffrey.

Originally from Malawi in East Africa and now living in Hartland, North Devon, Rebecca is a true pioneer of physical activity through African dance. She helps many local people get active whilst enjoying the immersive experience of African and Caribbean culture.

The conversation covers a vibrant story of growing up in Malawi, a love of dance and African heritage, and a journey to another life in Devon forming the dance group Andigwa.

Rebecca talks about how dance was done secretly in Malawi during colonial times and the story behind certain characters and tribal styles. The podcast further touches on Rebecca’s work to develop ‘Afrobics’ and some of the projects she is involved with currently in North Devon.

Later in the podcast Rebecca is asked about racial justice and ethnic diversity where she is able to speak from her experience as a person of mixed race living in a rural area. She highlights ‘positivity’ and ‘kindness’ as her main approach and always bringing ‘a smile’.

In addition to the podcast Rebecca also wanted to mention the ‘Dance in Devon’ project. She represents North Devon helping uplift the spirits of people in care homes and those isolated during lockdown. That could mean dancing on doorsteps or at windows from a safe distance, giving a real life experience of dance. The project runs successfully across Torbay, Exeter, Bideford, Barnstaple, Braunton, and South Devon.

Rebecca also told us about ‘Yemaya the Africa Sea Goddess’, a vibrant project recently performed with local volunteers.

Find out more about Andigwa Dance and perhaps take those first steps!

“At Active Devon we passionately believe that being active is important as ever. However, safety is paramount, and it is crucial that everyone follows current government guidance while continuing to stay active. #StayActiveStaySafe.”