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Uncertainty over Umthetho festival

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Angoni chiefs of Mzimba District are still brainstorming on whether to hold this year’s Umthetho Cultural Festival amidst the Covid -19 pandemic.

The annual festival is held during the first weekend of August and this year the event is expected to be held on August 1.

But speaking in an interview, Mzimba Ngoni chiefs’ secretary, Inkosi Mpherembe, said Covid-19 has threatened the possibility of holding the event following government’s directive that gatherings should be limited to less than 100 people.

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Umthetho Cultural Festival brings together all Ngoni chiefs from Mzimba and others from Chipata in Zambia and Songea in Tanzania.

Ngoni chiefs from Ntcheu and Mchinji also join the cultural festival.

Inkosi Mpherembe said the chiefs will soon make a decision on whether to proceed with the event arguing the chiefs come with Impi [Ingoma dancers] and others to celebrate with Inkosi ya Makosi M’mbelwa which means the numbers could be over 100.

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“We would love to hold the event as we always do annually. However, we are a little bit undecided because of of Covid -19. Our event brings together thousands of people which is contrary to the government directive of precautionary measures of the virus. Therefore, we are still discussing and we will soon communicate if we are holding the event or not,” Inkosi Mpherembe said.

Umthetho Cultural Festival starts on Thursday with the chiefs’ council meeting where they discuss issues concerning people of Mzimba.

On Friday, they hold seminars and later in the afternoon the chiefs go up Hora Mountain together with Impi where they eat meat, drink beer and dance Ingoma.

The event reaches its climax on Saturday where Inkosi Ya Makosi M’mbelwa speaks to his people. The event is most of the times patronised by government officials, politicians and religious leaders.

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