The ZUZU Acrobats are a Tanzanian troupe who base their performances on 2000 years of history. They bring modern art, culture, and passion with them everywhere they go. ZUZU celebrates their niche culture of Dar Es Salaam through jaw dropping acrobatics, live music, singing, dancing, and more.
ZUZU AFRICAN ACROBATS exhibit gravity defying stunts while simultaneously displaying the beauty of the Tanzanian culture of East Africa. This interactive 90-minute show includes human pyramids, dish spinning, stick balance, contortion, chair balance, unicycling, juggling, hand to hand balance, pole acts, hoop diving, as well as comedy and more. Each acrobat has graduated from the Baba Watoto School for Performing Arts which is internationally renowned for producing the highest quality performers. The cast consists of 14 performers: 9 acrobats, 3 dancers and 2 musicians.
ZUZU AFRICAN ACROBATS
Hailing from Tanzania, ZUZU AFRICAN ACROBATS celebrate the two thousand year old Bantu culture of East Africa. Each member of the cast has received special instructions from elders in the Bagamoyo Arts and Cultural Institute to perform these ancient traditions to audiences around the world.
Some of the highlights of this training include proficiency with the ngoma (drum), contortion (ubishi wa solo), dish spinning (sahani inazunguka), chair balance (kusawazisha kiti), unicycles and bicycle tricks (baiskeli), human pyramids (mazoezi ya viungo) and much more all to the sounds of African beats! The grace, beauty and strength of Africa stands as living testimony presented through living human art and entertainment.
Percussionist / Dancer / Choreographer / Acrobat / Painter
Artistic Director, ZUZU African Acrobats
Matiga Koba is a drummer, dancer, and self-taught painter originally from Tanzania. He grew up surrounded by art, music and dance in the historical town of Bagamoyo (a village that lies along the Indian Ocean in East Africa). From a very early age he was performing music and dance throughout Tanzania and abroad, with Shada Group, the SAMAWA project and Bagamoyo Spirits Band (led by Vitalis Maembe). His passion in the performing arts naturally led him to pick up a paintbrush and explore the new stories that he could tell with it. In 2008, Matiga participated in the Fredskorpset exchange program, where he traveled to Norway to live and teach African dance and drumming to schoolchildren, as well as hold exhibitions of his artwork. Upon his return to Tanzania, Matiga completed a course in Traditional Dance & Music at the renowned TaSUBa College of Arts in Bagamoyo. He also performed music at festivals (most notably Sauti za Busara and ZIFF festival in Zanzibar) throughout Tanzania with bands such as Jhikoman & Afrikabisa Band, Ashimba, John Nsombi, Bagamoyo Spirts, and Warriors from the East.
In 2010, Matiga moved to the US where he continued performing with various groups, teaching, and displaying his artwork at numerous exhibitions in Maryland, DC and NYC. In 2012 Matiga re-united with the Mother Afrika Circus, based out of Tanzania, to perform in Dar Es Salaam, as well as take the show on the road for a tour in France and parts of Europe, under the production of Cirque Phenix-Cirkafrika. In Fall 2013, Mother Afrika Circus came for their US premiere and Matiga was thrilled to perform with them on Broadway at The New Victory Theater. That following spring, Matiga joined Mother Afrika Circus for performances at Dollywood and in Costa Rica. From 2013-2018, Matiga performed with Circus Zuma Zuma, where he was based at Jungle Island in Miami, Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, in addition to numerous colleges, festivals and theatre across the US. In early 2020, Matiga joined ZUZU African Acrobats for a US-based tour and has had a summer residency at San Diego Safari Park Zoo in 2020 and 2021. During the typical touring months in 2021, the group pivoted to live-streaming virtual performances for schools and colleges. Matiga is thrilled to expand upon this relationship with ZUZU African Acrobats as the Artistic Director, by helping direct and choreograph new and exciting theater performances in the years to come.