To uphold cultural heritage of people of the Shire Valley, an annual celebration will be held at Paramount Chief Lundu’s Headquarters in Chikwawa.
The festival is a brainchild of the newly-established Mgumano wa Asena Ndi Amang’anja, a cultural grouping seeking to promote cultures of the two tribal groups of the Shire Valley.
Mgumano wa Asena Ndi Amang’anja publicity secretary Nyandoro Mthenga told The Nation in an interview that the inaugural cultural festival is slated for September 30.
“It will be a double celebration because it is when we are also launching the Mgumano wa Asena Ndi Amang’anja. The idea is to sustain and promote our cultures in the country through the celebration in the Shire Valley,” said Mthenga.
He said Sena and Amang’anja have a rich culture which needs safeguarding just like other tribal groupings do.
Sena people of Nsanje and Chikwakwa (Shire Valley) are a branch of an ethnic group called Lemba found in parts of Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Northern Province of South Africa and Zimbabwe. Among other popular cultural and artistic activities, Sena people have mangolongondo, which is widely played.
Culturally, the Shire Valley is also popular with the Khulubvi Forest and its Mbona sacred rain shrines where people go to worship (Mang’anjas in particular). Among other things, Mbona is believed to have supernatural powers which could bring rain, create forests and wells of water on sandy lands. He is believed to have a wife named Salima who almost always stayed in the compound, only visited by elderly women and children.
Today, the Mang’anja stories of people such as Mbona are expressed through culture and arts which form part of rich history of Mang’anja, according to Senior Chief Malemia.
“Culture is what made us to be where we are today. Therefore, it is important to organise ourselves to celebrate it,” said Malemia.
The festival will feature activities such as music and dance performances by the Shire Valley giants-Lucky Stars of Chinafuna M’bale hit. Nyandoro Mthenga of the popular SeneJive genre and Joseph Tembo.