Beyoncé and the Tofo Tofo Boys


As the saying goes: “It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”  -The story of Tofo Tofo inspiring Beyoncé’s MV is a great example of the above saying.

Tofo Tofo is a dance group from Maputo, Mozambique that does Kwaito dance – its founding members have practiced dance from an early age, gaining popularity while dancing on the street, and eventually in weddings and other functions.

Beyoncé saw a video of them dancing a while ago, and she held on it, locked it away in her memory bank, waiting for the right moment to incorporate the dance in her next project. Time came a year later when she’s shooting for her new MV “Run the World (Girls)”.

The video seen by Beyoncé:

Beyoncé and her team tried to mimic and build on their ‘Kwaito’ style dance in the MV but was unsuccessful. Finally, Beyoncé decided to fly the Tofo Tofo boys over to the States and teach her and her dancers. There was a problem though – no one knows how to find them. Eventually, after several months of searching, with the embassy people involved, the group was found and flew to LA.

“At first we didn’t know we were going to be shooting a video. We were going there for a kind of a workshop, for dance. But when we arrived in LA, first, second, third day and then Beyoncé came and introduced herself,” group leader David said. Such rigid but fast paced dance moves are common in Mozambique, but the sequence in “Run The World” borrowed heavily from the South African panstula influence.

It took Tofo Tofo about 19 days to teach Beyonce’s dancers how to do the steps, working from 10am to 6pm every day, and it took three days to shoot the MV. The boys were happy to have shared their culture with the world through the video.

Tofo Tofo boys work widely among youth in various parts of Mozambique to be able to impart their skills and contribute to building the nation through that.

David said,

We are human, one day we can disappear. So it’s important for us to leave some positive message behind. Especially the children, we need to teach them something.

Beyoncé and the Tofo Tofo Boys video footage:

Lesson to be learnt: 

If you or you know someone with a talent but can’t seem to find prospects, keep working on your talent. Make a small video and upload it to social media. You will never know who comes across it and when the opportunity will visit you. If all fails, keep trying.

(Courtesy of HowAfrica:;

Laura Walubengo:

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