President Peter Mutharika on Saturday appealed to Malawians to teach children their cultural heritage.
The President made the appeal when he attended this year’s colourful Mulhako wa Alhomwe festival at Chonde in Mulanje which attracted multitudes of people from all walks of life.
Mutharika said it is an anomaly to bring forth a generation which has no cultural roots.
The President, who is also a patron for the Mulhako wa Alhomwe, said children need to know the language of their forefathers, which is the foundation of culture.
Mutharika said amidst hand clapping: “Children must know their beliefs and proverbs. That is the wisdom of the people. They must know the music and dance. These are what express our happiness. They must know the stories that were once told around the fire. This is how we learn our history and our character.”
He said ancestors used these to shape the moral character.
The President said: “And meaningful development is always founded on strong moral principles. Therefore, we must also use our culture to teach younger generations the progressive values of patriotism, integrity and hard work.
“These values must become our way of life, our culture. I want these values to be part of every
culture in Malawi. This is a challenge I give to you Mulhako wa Alhomwe. Let us use culture to create a value system that supports economic development and build our national character. I know that culture is an effective tool for character building.”
He appealed to the villagers to be proud to guard and practice their traditions, adding they must also respect and treat their elders because these are the custodians of culture.
“Those of us who live in cities must make deliberate efforts to reconnect our children with village life. Let me commend those who organise cultural clubs in the cities as a vehicle for teaching cultural heritage. That is one way to go,” he said.
The President congratulated Mulhako wa Alhomwe for reviving Lhomwe language, saying it is a slow and long process but would get there.
Notably, he said, Lhomwe language has been known as a dying language because “we never spoke the language but now most people are feeling confident to speak Lhomwe as a language of their heritage”.
He said he was glad to see that Mulhako wa Alhomwe was becoming stronger every year.
As leader of the country, he said, he was pleased to see that the event had drawn together many cultural groupings.
He said that was what he meant to have unity in diversity.
“But let me emphasise that in all our cultural diversity, we are all Malawians. Culture should be our source of unity more than division,” he said to a loud applause. n