Two years after fire destroyed part of Mpale Cultural Village in Mangochi, K35 million has been set aside to support the reconstruction of the tourism and cultural spot.
Malawi Catering Services Limited (MCSL) chief accountant Davie Kampeni said they have already identified a contractor and the reconstruction will start this month.
Mpale, a hilltop cultural centre which offers visitors a beautiful view of Lake Malawi and the plains of Mangochi dotted with giant baobab trees, was gutted down by fire in 2013.
The traditional section of the centre, comprising an amphitheatre and a museum, was the most affected where valuable artefacts were destroyed.
When Chill visited the cultural centre on Sunday, the razed down section was still lying in desolate state, two years after the fire.
Save for the beautiful scenery, there was nothing cultural to smile about on that hot afternoon.
The Nation could not have access to the areas that exhibit Yao cultural heritage such as the elephant tales, chinamwali, anankungwi, gowelo and mphala and traditional dances such as beni, manga’nje and likwata, jando, chinamwali and, of course, mikanda.
MCSL officials on site, who are managing the facility on behalf of government, assured The Nation that the reconstruction will start this month, while referring the matter to their bosses to give the official side of the story.
Kampeni, later in an interview on Wednesday, confirmed about the reconstruction.
He, however, said reconstruction has delayed because officials had gone back to the drawing board to discuss on how best to improve the set up of the centre.
He said the new village will have some changes where they will add other buildings and improve on the old ones.
“We went to South Africa to learn how our friends run cultural villages. So, we didn’t want to rush in rebuilding before discussing how best to improve the village.
“Now the plans are ready where we will have additional houses and a dressing room where visitors will first be welcomed to be briefed about the Yao culture before they are guided to the museum and amphitheatre for traditional dances,” he said.
Mpale was set up by government in 2010 with the aim of preserving and promoting Malawi’s cultural heritage and tourism.
The centre has two sections—the traditional section which had traditional buildings and the hospitality section which has 12 chalets, a bar and a restaurant. The entire centre was built using traditional materials.