Highland Dancing in the country has been in evidence as far back as the 1930’s with the first recorded South African championships having been held in 1932. The OBHD(SA) was established in the early sixties, from which time it became the recognised governing body of highland dancing in South Africa. The OBHD(SA) is an Affiliated Member of the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing.

Dancers, teachers and adjudicators travel across the country to participate in competitions and workshops in Cape Town, Durban, East London, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Knysna. Highland Games are often held in conjunction with Pipe Band Competitions. The South African Highland Dancing Championship, the premier event on the Highland Dancing calendar, is held in September attracting both International dancers as well as dancers from around the country . 

As well as competing at the World Championship held at Cowal Highland Gathering in Dunoon, Scotland and various other Highland Dancing competitions as far away as Canada, our dancers have also participated in Military Tattoos both here and at various cities around the world.  

There are four principal highland dances :


Said to originate in the 18th Century and to be derived from the antics of a stag on a Scottish hillside, the arms raised during the dance are to resemble the antlers of a deer.


Scotland’s oldest dance which has its origins as the winner of a duel placing two swords in a cross on the ground and dancing in and out between the blades. This was regarded as a sign of daring because touching the swords was a bad omen for the forthcoming battle.


The Gaelic word for “old trousers”. There was a time in Scotland’s history when the bagpipes and kilt were banned. This meant that dancing had to be done in trousers. The shaking movements of the leg are said to represent the shaking off of the trews (trousers).


The Hullachan is a dance of four. Whilst waiting for a church service to begin a congregation milled around stamping their feet and clapping their hands to keep themselves warm. This in turn gave way to dancing.

The sound of the bagpipes is recognized as an integral part of Scottish heritage and as Highland Dancers we are proud to promote the culture and traditions of Scotland.    

For more information or to find a teacher in your area, visit our webpage or Facebook page.



OBHD(South Africa)

Office Bearers 2022

Chairman – Roxanne Piderit – roxannepiderit@gmail.comMelaney Smith – dancing@cubeke.co.za

Vice Chairman – Melaney Smith – dancing@cubeke.co.za

Secretary – Brenda Brett – obhdsec@gmail.com

Registrar – Elinor Boyes – obhdsaregunit@gmail.com

Adjudicators Representative – Avril O’Leary – emailtoavril@gmail.com

Treasurer – Ros Eachus – ros@accountit.co.za

Independent Members

Bev Leahy

Avril 0’Leary

Honorary Members

Barbara Freeborn

Shonah Robinson

Sue Driver

Judy Lucas

Regional Representative Organisation

Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, and Western Cape

Office Bearers 2022

Eastern Cape Highland Organisation


Chairman – Ros Eachus – ros@accountit.co.za


Treasurer – Roslyn Eachus – ros@accountit.co.za

Delegates: – Cassandra Hornby – csbrooke@gmail.com

Gauteng Highland Dance Association


Chairman – Bev Leahy – bev.leahy@gmail.com

Vice Chairman – Reval Saayman – elnas@execmail.co.za

Secretary – Noleen Loubser – noleen.loubser@gmail.com

Treasurer – Natalie Visser – nataliegv21@gmail.com

Delegates: – Gail Cross – glcross73@gmail.com

Reval Saayman – elnas@execmail.co.za

Western Province Celtic Dance Association / Highland Teachers Association


Chairman – Judy Lucas – judylucas@telkomsa.net

Secretary – Nicole Uys – nicoleuys@hotmail.co.za

Treasurer – Lesley Reis – lesley.marwick@gmail.com

Delegates: – Heather Booysen – hbooysen@iafrica.com

Hayley Johnston – Hayley@civils2000.co.za

Lesley Reis(alternate) – lesley.marwick@gmail.com