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Ministry still working on docs for Nsima

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Director of Culture in the Ministry of Information, Tourism and Culture Elizabeth Gomani Chindebvu has said they are yet to submit papers for the country’s staple food Nsima which was nominated to the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Chindebvu said Wednesday that they have not yet finished working on the documentation.

“We will submit the papers but for now we are still working on the documentation. We hope to finish very soon,” she said.

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Recently the ministry invited the general public to submit their comments or objection to its intention to nominate Nsima, the Culinary Tradition of Malawi, to the list by giving reasons in writing.

Asked as to whether they got the necessary comments, Gomani Chindebvu said the response was not as much as they expected.

“We did not get enough comments as we expected but we at least got something. But all in all before we called for comments from the public we also had already got feedback from meetings we held with among others traditional leaders. So we advertised in the newspapers because we wanted additional information from the general public,” she said.

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Gomani Chindebvu could not be drawn to say when they will submit the information.

Nsima is the country’s staple food which is valued by every Malawian and is mostly the main course in homes during lunch and dinner.

The ministry said the nomination of Nsima, the Culinary Tradition of Malawi, if accepted will raise the number of elements from Malawi on list to four which will be the highest in Southern Africa.

Currently Malawi has three intangible cultural heritage elements on the same list and they include Gule Wamkulu (the great dance) of the Chewa people, Vimbuza Healing Dance of the Tumbuka people of the Northern Malawi and Tchopa Dance of the Lhomwe people of Southern Malawi.

Malawi became a party to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010 and that a number of awareness raising workshops have been organised since then targeting Journalists, government officers and the youth.

It further says that from January 19-20 January, 2015, the Department of Culture, with financial support from Unesco through the Malawi National Commission for Unesco, organised another workshop to raise awareness among local leaders about the Convention and the National Cultural Policy.

According to the ministry, the workshop was held at Sunbird Lilongwe Hotel and was attended by 22 traditional authorities, councillors and officers from the District Commissioners’ offices representing 22 districts.

It was after the end of this workshop that the participants gave consent to the government of Malawi through the Department of Culture to nominate Nsima, the Culinary Tradition of Malawi to the Unesco Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The nomination of Nsima was proposed by the community under Sub Traditional Authority Mphomwa in Kasungu district and supported by communities under Traditional Authority Mwakaboko in Karonga, Traditional Authority Nthondo in Ntchisi and Traditional Authority Nanseta in Thyolo.

The preparation of Nsima is the most significant culinary tradition among all communities in Malawi and Chindebvu said it has proved to be very important in the life of every Malawian and that everyone eats and prepares it.

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