Chairperson of Chewa Heritage Foundation (Chefo) in Ntchisi, only identified as Mtama, has advised chiefs to register gule wamkulu camps, popularly known as dambwe.
Mtama advised chiefs to be watchful for any gule wamkulu that tarnishes Chewa tradition by engaging in violence and any abusive practices in their areas.
This has come amid reports of gule wamkulu assaulting people and dragging children to their camps in Traditional Authority (T/A) Chilooko, which he condemned as not being part of the tradition.
Speaking to chiefs and community members in T/A Chilooko, Mtama said as gule wamkulu was part of Chewa culture, it was embarrassing to hear reports of abuses by cult members in some areas of the district.
He said as custodians of culture, chiefs have a role to play to ensure that the tradition is maintained while keeping its dignity that existed from time immemorial, by among others avoiding violence acts or use of foul language.
“We feel bad and embarrassed when we hear of stories of gule wamkulu beating people or forcing children into their camps. It’s time we use the tradition in a very modern way like entertaining people or chasing children to school but not what we hear in Chilooko,” said Mtama.
Officer-in-charge for Malomo Police, Sikanadze Mkweche confirmed that there have been cases of young people dragged to gule wamkulu camps.
“This case is in court right now because we cannot tolerate that, athough they claimed it was tradition. Tradition should not injure or violate other people’s rights,” said Mkweche.