Afestival called by any name is a festival so they say. That is why the Maseko Ngonis will on September 1hold Udlangano wa Maseko cultural festival.
The festival will showcase Maseko Ngoni traditional dances like ngoma and msindo and revive some of the traditional dances that are rare such as nkhwendo.
Besides the dances, the Maseko will also have a Kukhwisula pa Manda ceremony at the grave of Inkosi Chikusa Gomani 1 who was killed by the colonial settlers. The ceremony of Kukhwisula pa Manda involves paying homage to the spirits of the dead by offering a sacrifice.
K.D. Phillip in his book Onani Angoni says giving sacrifice has been part of many people’s lives even before the time of Jesus Christ.
“Kutsira nsembe ndiko kuononga chinthu china chamoyo kapena chopanda moyo, chifukwa cha kupempha kanthu kwa mulungu, penanso chifukwa chakupepesa mulungu [Giving sacrifice is to kill something or destroy something inanimate inorder to ask for something from God or to ask God for forgiveness],” reads the chapter in part.
According to Philip, the Ngonis used to choose a leader who would perform the sacrificial rites on their behalf to ask God for anything they did not have, had lost or other things such as lack of rain and peace.
“Sometimes the leader would call a fallen leader to speak on their behalf to God, asking for what they did not have,” says Phillip.
Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani V is expected to launch Maseko Ngoni Trust at the function. The trust is expected to help preserve Maseko Ngoni culture and help development projects in areas where Maseko Ngonis are found.
During the ceremony, the Inkosi is expected to honour and give gifts to people of the Ngoni Maseko who have done remarkable contributions to the development of the nation.
The Inkosi will then hold a rite called kupereka impi, a function where the inkosi chooses councillors.
“We are inviting all people from different tribes as this is not only for the Maseko, but it will also help encourage cultural tolerance,” said chairperson of the organising committee, Inkosi Makwangwala.
“The place is a reminder to us the Maseko Ngonis of our roots. It is also a way of honouring our ancestors and part of the programme of the cultural day includes tracing those old people in our societies that would on the day also provide raw information [history] on our ethnic grouping,” he said in an interview.
He said preparations for the September1 festival are at an advanced stage.
“August 30 will be a great day for the Maseko Ngonis. With the support we have received from the traditional authorities, we are optimistic that we will have a grand event in August,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Maseko Ngoni Paramount Chief Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani V says the dilution of their native language is a matter of profound regret.
The youthful paramount chief said such a huge mistake should be swiftly addressed through intensive teaching and learning programmes among other means.
“It is a pity that many Maseko Ngonis today cannot speak our mother language. We should not take pride in diluting our own language by speaking languages of other groups. It is time we promote both speaking and writing of our own language,” he said.
Gomani V said it was difficult to claim that the Maseko Ngonis value their culture when they cannot speak their own language. He said their language can easily be revived if cultural programmes target school-going children who are eager to learn new things.