Paramount Chief of the Ngonde, Kyungu, has expressed concern over President Peter Mutharika’s perpetual absence from cultural festivals in the Northern Region while availing himself at most similar events in the Southern and Central regions including their fundraising activities.
Kyungu spoke at a Ngonde maiden cultural festival in Karonga last week dubbed Bunyabo Bwa Ngonde.
Notably, Mutharika did not attend this year’s Ngoni Cultural Festival, Umthetho, in Mzimba and Tumbuka’s Gonapamuhanya in Rumphi.
But Sta t e House Spokesperson, Mgeme Kalilani, said in a telephone interview that the President respects all cultures and that, whenever possible in the future, he will grace the Ngonde festival.
During the event, the Ngonde people of Karonga and Chitipa displayed their traditional dances and food items among others.
Patrons to the event were also oriented on the Ngonde funeral, childbirth and marriage rites among other issues.
Kyungu said during the event that, the festival, which will be held annually, is a serious attempt to revive the Ngonde culture which he said has been dormant for years.
He implored Ngonde chiefs to employ strict measures to safeguard indigenous traditions and languages in the two border districts which he said have suffered foreign influence from neighbouring Tanzania and Zambia.
“We have a daunting task ahead of us of preserving our history, traditions and practices. And that would only be possible if we came together as a united force. Do not let ethnicities divide us. Whether Lambya, Henga or Nyika we are all of Ngonde background,” Kyungu said.
The Ngonde leader also expressed concern that for centuries, heroes from the two districts have not been celebrated deservingly for what he said were significant contributions they made to Malawi’s socio-political history.
“Karonga and Chitipa has a number of unsung heroes, even the Kyungu dynasty has very rich history attached to it which our children barely know about. It is our responsibility and government’s responsibility to include that in the curricular for easy transfer of knowledge,” he said.
Secretary for Civic Education and Culture, Esmie Kainja, said government remains committed to uphold different cultures in the country.
Kainja said the value that government attaches to issues of culture cannot be overemphasized and that it is enlisted among Malawi’s foreign exchange earners.
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