Gumboot is an African dance conceived by South African miners as an alternative to drumming which was banned by authorities during apartheid. They worked as they danced and often relayed messages to each other that they did not want their bosses to understand. The Wellesley African Students’ Association (WASA) Gumboot team has been in existence since WASA was known as African Awareness Now (AAN) in 1991 and was first taught by Ms. Thando Njoko of South Africa. It is still in existence today and is currently the last surviving collegiate Gumboot Team in the Greater Boston Area and began at a time when all the Boston-area ASA’s/ASO’s/ASU’s* had their own Gumboot Teams and competed with each other in an effort to raise awareness for the struggles of the African continent in general.
WASA Gumboot Team’s Main Anthem
Gumboot members rehearsing 2006
Gumboot 2006 to 2008
All students at Wellesley College can join Gumboot whether or not they are members of WASA. Gumboot members also receive a limit of 2 PE credits towards the College PE requirement.
* ASA/ASO/ASU = African Students’ Association/African Students’ Organization/African Students’ Union
“Wow, a trip down memory lane! One of my favorite memories is of when WASA went to a show in Boston by a gumboot troupe from South Africa. We had our own little gumboot group in WASA so it was a real pleasure to get to see these professional gumboot dancers perform. And we got to meet the dancers after the show! It was lots of fun.” – WASA 2004 Alumna