Historically, Highland Dancing in the South Africa has been in evidence as far back as the 1920s with the first recorded South African championships having been held in 1932. Originally, highland dancing activities in the country were governed by the Federated Caledonian Society of Southern Africa, but documentary evidence points to the OBHD(SA) being formed during the period 1961 to 1963, from which time it became the recognised governing body of highland dancing in South Africa. The OBHD(SA) is proud to be an Affiliated Member of the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing.
Politically, South Africa was severely ostracised and increasingly isolated from the rest of the world in the seventies and eighties, but the collapse of apartheid and the 1994 democratic elections heralded a new era of hope and reconciliation.
In 1999, for a variety of reasons, “a new-look” OBHD(SA) was structured, negotiated by all parties in the community and offering members from all around the country, equal and fair representation. Meetings are shared equally amongst the four regions insuring all areas have the opportunity to share in all business.
Highland Dancing in South Africa today.
South African Championships
2010 sees the holding of the 79th South African Championships. Held since its inception under the auspices of the Federated Caledonian Society of Southern Africa, when it was called the Royal Scottish Gathering, this event has since 2003 fallen under the direction of the OBHD(SA) and is organised by a committee of members of the highland dancing community. The South African championships were traditionally held in September until 2003, when it was decided to change the date to the 4th or last weekend in July to accommodate the increasing number of Pipe Bands and dancers wishing to travel to Scotland to compete. The list of past South African Champions is representative of some of the well-known personalities in the history of highland dancing in the country, many of whom are still actively involved today.