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  Rosa: gumboot dancer
Updated 28 January 2003, 19.33
Rosa webchat
Rosa is 13 and lives in Soweto in South Africa.

She seems like an average teenager, until you find out that she dances in her wellies!

It's actually a strong South African tradition that comes from the men that used to work in the goldmines.

And now Rosa dons her gumboots with a dance group and earns money to support her family and pay for her education.

The chat is now over, thanks for all your questions - simply scroll down to read what Rosa had to say!


Host: Hi - welcome to our live chat with Gumboot dancer Rosa who is talking to us from South Africa.

Hayley: Hello Rosa what do you think of England? Have you ever been over?
Rosa: No. I haven't been to England but I wish I could come to England - very soon.

Patrick: Is it hard to learn gumboot dancing?
Rosa: No, it's quite easy but it needs a lot of practise. I was 8 years old when I first started. I was taught by the warriors and my father. He's a great dancer.

Kate: Hello Rosa, what's it like living in Africa? It looks like nice weather.
Rosa: It's very nice weather here. You get to know all the different cultures and meet a lot of tourists.

Helen: Hello Rosa. Your dance sounds great.... if you come to England do you think you will bring the dance with you?
Rosa: Yes, I would. It would be a great experience for all of you to see gumboot dancing.

Jonny: How come you can speak English so well?
Rosa: It's because I go to an English school. I speak a lot of English at home. I also speak Zulu and Tswana.

Dominic: What are the metal cans for which you put on the ground for dancing?
Rosa: It gives us more rhythm.

Stuart: How has the introduction of the Internet affected your life?
Rosa: It has. It's made me more excited about life. Tonight is the first time that I've been on the internet. It's very exciting for a person like me.

Suzie: What do you like to do apart from gumboot dancing?
Rosa: I like reading - especially Harry Potter. 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' is my favourite. I also play netball. I was playing for the South African team. We travel to other places in South Africa but we haven't travelled outside the country.

Eevee: Do you ever do lessons on England in Geography , we do loads about Africa.
Rosa: We learn about the different cultures, the music that is played and about the origins of the English language. Geography is not a rich subject in South Africa. We have to study Maths, English, Afrikaans, Science and Technology. We also learn a lot about History. My favourite subject is English. I've got a lot of Academic awards for English.

Heena: How do you say hello in South Africa?
Rosa: In Zulu hello is 'Molweni'

Edward: What is it like being interviewed on national TV?
Rosa: It is very exciting. At first I was a bit nervous but now it's exciting and I feel much calmer. I'm quite an open-hearted person. I take everything step-by-step and try to stay calm all the time.

Buffy_Jade: How long did it take you to learn the routines?
Rosa: It takes about a month when you're really serious about it. I practise about 2 to 3 days a week. If you practise like this your routine will be quite good after about four months. There are usually 10 of us who practise but six people have left our dance group. So we're now left with four people. All the people in our group are girls. At first we had some boys but they were a bit jealous of the girls and decided to leave.

Lorna: Do you like drama, as well as dance?
Rosa: I do like drama. It's not as much my thing as dance but I do enjoy it. We do drama at school three times a week.

Rosemary: Are there a set of traditional steps, or do you ever invent the routines yourselves?
Rosa: We invent our routines. For each routine we use one established style and when we put it all together it makes a perfect step.

Meli: I love to dance and I do lots of tap can you give me some tips?
Rosa: Whatever you do, do it out of your heart. Don't do it just for the sake of it. Be open-hearted with everything you do and do it with love and care.

Suki: Have you ever been on telly before?
Rosa: When I was still a baby in crèche, I used to do Christmas adverts. It's very funny when I look back at them because I was very small and didn't have teeth!

David: Does anyone else in your family dance?
Rosa: My sister dances. My father is an artist and he teaches us to dance.

Sophia: Is there a leader in the group or do you work together?
Rosa: We all work together, there is no leader. We have our ups and downs like every other group. We don't always work together well, but for the most part we do work well together.

Hannah: If you could be in any movie, which one would it be and why?
Rosa: I would like to be in 'Mr Bean' because he's a very funny character. I might like to be Mr Bean's wife. I can make a lot of funny faces. I like joking around.

Alice: Are all the other group members 13?
Rosa: We're not all the same age. Some are 15, some are 14.

Jenny: When you are older, do u think you will look back on this moment?
Rosa: I'll look back on it very fondly - it will also have a great effect on my CV.

Noddy: If you had the choice of being famous and leave home where would you choose to go?
Rosa: I would definitely leave home and be famous. I will grab every opportunity that comes along because opportunities come along once in a lifetime.
I would love to go to America. I love the clothing and I like shopping. I'd love to go to New York because it's got style.

Africa_rocks: I'd love to be a gum-boot dancer we do have lessons in our area but I'm a bit scared to start can you give me some pointers please?
Rosa: For gumboot dancing you need to use your feet and your hands. You need to practise at home. It's a bit difficult at first but becomes easier with time.
You have to be very flexible and it's very good exercise. All you need are your gumboots and your hands!

Natalie: Who are your favourite music artists?
Rosa: I love R 'n' B and Hip Hop. I love Craig David and Nelly.

Eevee: Have you had any embarrassing moments whilst gumboot dancing?
Rosa: I have! One time I was dancing and fell in front of everybody. They were all laughing and it was a big audience. There were no hard feelings, but I was very embarrassed. At least I managed to get up and carry on dancing, rather than running off the stage and crying.

Jon: Where should I visit in South Africa?
Rosa: Go and visit 'Sun City'. There's lots of entertainment there and the Kruger National Game Park is nearby. There are many dancers who dance at 'Sun City' too. At the Kruger National Park you can see lions, ostriches, impalas (buck), snake, cheetahs and different kinds of fish. You can see the biggest snake in Africa too.

Lorna: What is your favourite character in the Harry Potter books?
Rosa: I like Harry's friend Ron. I love fiction because it's more exciting to read.

Tom: Do you have to be very fit to keep up in the dance?
Rosa: You do need to be quite fit. I keep fit by doing athletics at school. After school I do my gumboot dancing (at 4pm), from 6 to 7/8 is homework. Then I take a bath and go to bed at 8.30pm. I get up at 5.30 in the morning. Then I eat breakfast, the most important meal. I have cereal for breakfast or bread and tea.
It's very important to have a schedule that you keep to every day. I also go jogging in the morning. Sometimes I don't get up in time though and then I'm in a big rush. School starts at 8 and ends at 1.15. It gets very hot at lunch-time, so I don't always need to take a jumper to school. South Africa is very hot in summer, but it also gets very cold in winter.

Niki: Do you have any pets?
Rosa: No, I don't. I'd love to have pets. I'd like to have a cat.

Emzygirl: What's your school uniform like?
Rosa: We wear a school uniform. We wear a green shirt (a jade colour) and a black skirt. We don't have to wear ties.

Katie: What do think of the UK?
Rosa I would love to come to England. The history sounds amazing. Most of the people who visit South Africa from England have wonderful accents. I'd love to speak like that. I also really like the English artists.

Ballet: I'm into ballet, how do you think I'd get on?
Rosa: I did ballet when I was in crèche but I dropped it because I felt standing on my toes was very sore. I thought I would get used to it but I didn't. I would say to you, do what you want to do. Go for it!

Roxanne: How many people are in your class? (26 in mine)
Rosa: I have 24 people in my class - both boys and girls.

Natalie: You said you like hip-hop... so do you like Eminem?
Rosa: I like Eminem except he swears a lot. Most of my friends don't swear. I prefer that. I like to be with people who try and do the right thing.

Suzie: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Rosa: I'd like to be a scientist or a psychologist. Maybe even an actor. If I become a scientist I would like to find a cure for Aids. In South Africa there are many, many sufferers of HIV/Aids. It is a big problem here.

Jen: What is your favourite food?
Rosa: Pizza and hamburgers! I like margarita pizzas.

England: Is it true Rosa, that they speak 6 languages in South Africa?
Rosa: There are more than 11 different languages in South Africa. English, Afrikaans, Indian, Tsutu, Tswana, Zulu, Spidi, Xhosa, Shangaan, Venda and many more.

Amy: What is your favourite possession?
Rosa: I have an African doll that my father bought for me when he visited Germany. It's my favourite doll because it's the first doll that I got from overseas. I don't play with dolls anymore but I do love that doll.

Roy: Rosa, if you had a wish what would you wish?
Rosa: I wish that I could come and visit England. I'd love to show you all how to do gumboot dancing.

Host: That's all we've got time for here I'm afraid, so thanks to everyone at home for sending all your questions in, hope we've managed to answer most of them. Don't forget to check the website for the rest of our live chats from Africa!

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