Chewa Heritage Foundation (Chefo) has condemned the misuse of gulewamkulu by some youths during occassions that are not culturally in line with the traditional dance.
Chefo secretary general Richard Mdyetseni in an interview yesterday said gulewamkulu is a Chewa traditional dance for special occassions.
“Gulewamkulu is an integral part of the Chewa culture. It is a sacred dance. It is respected. What is happening is actually disheartening,” he said.
Mdyetseni said culturally, gulewamkulu is only performed during three functions.
He said: “We perform gulewamkulu during funerals of gulewamkulu initiates or Chewa chiefs, when a new chief is being installed or during celebrations to mark the harvest period.”
The Chefo secretary general has since described the misuse of the dance as unfortunate, saying it is diluting a special and distinct cultural dance that sets the Chewa apart.
“We take pride in our culture and it is disappointing to see young men, some of whom are not even initiated, wearing masks and moving about harassing people,” said Mdyetseni.
He has since warned those misusing gulewamkulu to stop, saying Chefo will not defend or protect anyone caught harassing citizens in the name of gulewamkulu.
“Law enforcers should deal with those using gulewamkulu to harass others. As for Chefo, our sanctioned gulewamkulu dancers do not participate in such acts,” he said.
Of late, there have been reports of gulewamkulu dancers harrasing people in locations.
Yesterday, Lilongwe police deputy spokesperson Foster Benjamin said a gulewamkulu member has been arrested for harassing people around Chinsapo Township.
He identified the suspect as Jonathan Kanama, 21, of Chinsapo 2 Township in the district.
Said Benjamin: “He was in gulewamkulu regalia with six other dancers who were causing havoc and demanding money from passersby.”
In a statement monitored on Zodiak Broadcasting Station yesterday, Chefo chairperson Professor George Kanyama Phiri distanced the Chewa culture and gulewamkulu from acts of violence.