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Play speaks volumes of Malawi’s ills

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Malawi has lost direction, its people have neglected culture and hence the so many ills on the ground among them the killing of people with albinism and corruption.

This is what a production titled Kulemera Sikufika, Kachirambe Anaombola Malawi, Chikhalidwe Chathu Chibwerere (Accumulating Wealth is not the only purpose worth to live for) exposed during an open day on Saturday at Kungoni Arts Centre of Culture and Art in Dedza which is under Mua Mission.

The play delves into a Bantu and Yao folktale that features a redeemer in the name of Kachirambe.

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The production which saw a narrator reading the story as the audience listened and then Kungoni Cultural Troupe members acted, developed the theme of the land and its people that have been swallowed by a nasty monster in the form of a giant pumpkin.

The monster moved from village to village, it kept on expanding its base, swallowing people’s good behaviour as well as devouring the best of people’s life and traditions.

It destroyed people’s humanity and changed them into greedy creatures deprived of mercy, humanity and freedom. And as the story unfolds, Malawi becomes prey to corruption, greed, injustices, famine and murder of people with albinism.

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The play does not leave any stone unturned in bringing to light the so many ills from chiefs being corrupt, bribed and failing to resolve cases as well as selling land to rich investors. The poor are denied rights with the corrupt justice system.

The production keeps people active because it involves the Chewa traditional dance of Gule Wamkulu which comes in different forms to tell the story of the different problems facing the country.

The play ends with the great mother of the Chewa Kasiyamaliro, who condemns those, who have gone astray through greed as well as lost their humanity and tradition.

Kachirambe portrays the power of the country’s culture over and against other influences.

The open day is held every year at Kungoni which was founded by Father Claude Boucher better known as A Chisale in 1976 to celebrate culture.

But this year it was special in that this place was celebrating 40 years of it’s existence and dedication to culture.

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day that attracted hundreds of people from all walks of life including artists, traditional, political and religious leaders, academicians and students.

Some of the people even came as far as Israel to be part of this special day that started with a mass in the morning which indicated that culture and religion go together before moving on to the different traditional dances and then the climax was the play that combined both drama and traditional dances.

A market on the junction to Kungoni was vibrant as early as 8am with people selling different products and other items cashing in on the celebration while houses were deserted as people made way to this historical and free event.

It was a platform which also saw people of different tribes from Ngoni, Yao and Chewa among others uniting through culture.

Some of the traditional dances performed for different reasons including marriages and initiation ceremonies that people sampled on the day included Ngoma, Kazukuta, Chisamba, Chitelela, Sikili, Manganje, Chimbwiza, Henga, Kanganye, Khunju, Chimtali and Nkhwendo.

“Throughout the 40 years we have been trying to tell people the importance of culture. We are losing our culture and tomorrow we may end up crying, we are accepting a lot of things from the Western world, a people without culture are as good as a dead society,” Boucher said.

A member of Friends of Kungoni Dr Chiwoza Bandawe described the day as special in that Kungoni has done a lot contributing to the preservation of culture.

“Kungoni has helped us realise the value of preserving our culture. Academicians and different people have learnt a lot from this place that our culture is very rich and we will continue with these celebrations,” Bandawe said.

Member of Parliament Julian Lunguzi said the country needs to appreciate and love its culture and that we should “maintain the culture of our integrity.”

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