Ethnic groups in Nkhata Bay are set to launch the newly-established Nkhata Bay Tonga Heritage at Chintheche in the district on August 26 2017.
In an interview, the organising committee’s chairperson, the Reverend Maxwell Mezuwa Banda, said the group has been established to promote and preserve Tonga cultural heritage for the socio-economic development of the district and the country in general.
“Some of the cultural aspects we want to promote are traditional dances like yakhanya which are long forgotten. People just know about malipenga, chilimika and honala. But we have a lot of other dances which are fading away,” he said.
Banda said the heritage also wants to preserve the Tonga language, which is being swallowed up by Chichewa, more especially among youths.
“We want to revive this language among the young ones. Otherwise, if we leave it as it is, in 10 years’ time, the language will be gone,” he said.
Banda said the launch will give natives a platform to display and showcase some of the cultural aspects that need promotion and preservation.
Some of them include music, dance and plays such as mangolongondu, kuguza wato, kubevuka, vinthuru and kukowera. The event will also have performances by Zabweka Tembo and the iconic Park Town Band.
On the second day of the event, there will be an interdenominational service of worship. This will be followed by the first Heritage Annual General Meeting.
The launch is expected to attract chiefs from within and surrounding districts, representatives of other cultural groupings in Malawi and abroad, cultural anthropologists, historians and retired civil servants.
Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Cecilia Chazama is expected to be guest of honour.
In an earlier interview, Chazama said such festivals complement government’s efforts in promoting and safeguarding the rich cultural heritage “that we have in Malawi”.
The Tonga heritage joins other cultural groups like the Umtheto, Kulamba, Mgumano Wa Asena Na Amang’anja, Karonga-Chitipa heritage, Muhlakho wa Ahlomwe, and Chiwanja cha Ayawo. n