The presence and sale of thobwa (opaque sweet brew) and mbewa (mice) during last Sunday’s poetry show at Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) was enough ground for people to be glad about the event as another platform to promoting the country’s dying out cultural practices.
For a long time, creative arts such as music, dance, theatre and poetry have been regarded as effective vehicles through which different cultures are promoted in the country. For example, some music videos feature traditional dances like mganda, beni and gulewamkulu to sustain them.
But in a rare fashion that excited many patrons, who enjoy traditional foods, last Sunday’s poetry show at BCC created room for the sale of mbewa and thobwa, which was enjoyed by many patrons. Some could be seen patronising the mbewa and thobwa stall on their arrival at the venue and during the break of
A cup of thobwa and mbewa was selling at K100 each, attracting a number of customers who served them overpoweringly. Due to the mounting excitement at the traditional food stuffs, others could buy both mbewa and thobwa to serve them one after another.
One of the patrons of the show, Alington Mandalawe, who is a Transmission engineer at MIJ FM, said he was thrilled with the local dishes, particularly mbewa.
“It’s been long since I last ate mbewa; thus, I could not do otherwise but to have one today. On the other hand, this experience has reminded me of my old good days where I used to enjoy life in the village,” he said.
He hailed the organisers of the show dubbed Chiwamba Cha Ndakatulo for promoting diverse cultural practices.
However, some children who have hardly stayed in the village or know mbewa, were astounded with the seemingly ‘small dead cows’ that were lying on the stall.
Another patron described her encounter with thobwa as marvelous.
“I have really enjoyed this poetry show because I was not expecting that I would bump into thobwa. I usually don’t buy thobwa from the market but I felt comfortable to do so here,” said a young woman, identified as Memory, while enjoying a cup of thobwa.
One of the organisers of the poetry show Mollen Nazombe said one of the objectives of the Chiwamba Cha Ndakatulo was to bring diverse cultures together and provide entertainment suitable for families.
“Chiwamba Cha Ndakatulo is a unique initiative packed with different activities such as music, dance, poetry and promotion of traditional foods such as mbewa, futsa and thobwa. The idea is to preserve our cultures by bringing the best experience to our audience.
In a nutshell, Chiwamba Cha Ndakatulo is a full-pack for cultural promotion,” said Nazombe, who is also a poet.
He said the idea of incorporating different cultural activities was arrived at after observing their slow death.
“Our cultures are dying. For example, people are no longer eating mbewa in town thinking it’s old-fashioned to do so. But there are others who still enjoy them only that they fail to access them,” said Nazombe.
He, however, urged partners of their initiative to provide patrons with the best traditional food stuffs.n