If you are good at hiking, then you stand a chance of enjoying beef atop Hora Mountain.
For this year’s uMthetho Cultural Festival, Mzimba Heritage Association has dedicated a cow that will only be eaten by those who will manage to ascend to the top of Hora Mountain.
uMthetho is a Ngoni annual cultural festival that is celebrated in August at Hora in Mzimba District.
According to Mzimba Heritage Association, the arrangement of feasting on the meat at the top of Hora Mountain is to encourage more people to take part in paying tribute to the Ngoni ancestors who settled at the settlement.
“Food defines one’s ethnicity. Ngoni people are known to favour meat in most of their meals. That is why we have decided to secure a special cow that will be taken to the top of Hora Mountain where special prayers will be held in respect of our forefathers,” Mzimba Heritage general secretary Ndawazako Thole told On the Arts on Wednesday.
Hora Mountan has historical attachment to the Ngoni as it is said to be the first Ngoni settlement in Malawi.
“We want to bring in something unique for this year celebrations; we will have cultural exhibitions that reflect the Ngoni rich history,” said Thole.
Mzimba Heritage Association, whose aim is to preserve and promote the heritage of the Ngoni people, was founded in the year 2000 and has been organising the Umthetho Cultural Festival at Hora Mountain since 2007.
Last year’s event was attended by prominent individuals, including former president Joyce Banda.
During the event, the Ngoni’s showcased their rich heritage, including traditional dances such as ingoma.
“During this year’s event, we would love to have young people taking part because their presence will inspire others to start taking part in ingoma, which is currently dominated by grown-ups,” said Thole.
The ceremony, which will be characterised by three days of different traditional activities prior to the main event, will incorporate other tribal groupings.
“The event is open to the public, but we will have special guests. We will also invite senior government officials. We have also planned to invite other cultural groups such as the Lhomwe to interact with us,” said Thole.
He said other Ngonis from South Africa, Tanzania and Botswana will be invited.
Thole said apart from food, other Ngoni cultural elements such as dressing will be exhibited during the occasion.
“Apart from allowing other invited ethnic groups to perform their traditional dances, the event will also be used as a forum for Ngonis to showcase their cultural values.
“There will be all sorts of Ngoni dances such as mthimba, mbuweni, msindo, liguba and ingoma. We will also be strict on attire. We want to showcase our dressing code such as brasswire coils [amasongo] and bead strings [izipote],” he said.n