Followers of these columns will remember that our troupe of traditional dancers, the Ngobamakhosi, became the first Zulu invitees to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo last August. Their performances were the subject of overwhelming critical acclaim, not to mention a two and a half minute standing ovation, virtually unprecedented in the events 58 year history. Their show at the Lord Provost of Glasgow's post-Commonwealth Games celebration in Glasgow, stopped the traffic in the city's main square for twenty minutes; another first.
The organisers recently released the statistical outcomes flowing from the Tattoo, which revealed that the show secured an average United Kingdom viewing alone on the BBC of 5 million souls, a 21% share of the total audience. This translates into a global audience of up to 300,000 million, which by any standards, are "X-Factor" numbers. The attendees included a host of international television crews and more than 200 journalists and photographers, and it was the number one visitor attraction on TripAdvisor.
In the words of Brigadier David Alfrey, the show's CEO, the Ngobamakhosi were "quite extraordinary, leaving a huge impression on both live and television audiences. Bright, punchy, tight and full of flair, they had it all." The Brigadier has been around this show for much of his military career; knows what he's talking about.
So you see, there's more to this pony than just horses and hospitality.
Editor's Note: We learned today that the Ngobamakhosi were the subject of the Tattoo's winning photograph, the pick of thousands of entries. According to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo site: "A picture of the exuberant iNgobamakhosi Zulu Dance Troupe has been judged the best pictorial moment of the 65th Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in a competition run by show organisers last summer. Pavol Čepček from the Nitra Region in Slovakia, scooped the £500 first prize with his eye-catching picture of the South African group performing battle songs from the KwaZulu-Natal iButho."