The Ngoni of Mzimba on Saturday held the 10th anniversary of Umtheto which was launched on August 9 2008.
To mark the three-day celebrations, the Ngoni unveiled a model village at Mount Hora Heritage Centre in Mzimba. The village comprises 10 houses that form a semi-cycle around a kraal. Each house represents a chiefdom of the district.
Speaking during the event on Saturday, Mzimba Heritage Association (Mziha) chairperson Boston Soko said construction of the model village means that the Inkosi ya Makhosi M’mbelwa V and all the Amakhosi (chiefs) “are for the first-time residents of this village”.
“For many years, Inkosi ya Makhosi M’mbelwa V was lonely in his royal house. But now, all the amakhosi have come to join him; hence, the 10 houses we see there, each representing a chiefdom,” he said.
Soko said the Paramount Chief will name the model village at his opportune time.
The event was celebrated under the theme Culture and Development whereby the chiefs met on Thursday to find solutions to migrant labour which is threatening marriages and lives of the people in the district.
M’mbelwa V described migration of people to South Africa in search of jobs as a big challenge in Mzimba.
He said marriages are breaking up because women who are left behind end up engaging in extramarital affairs.
“We have vast land here. Let people venture into farming as a business to uplift their livelihoods rather than migrating to South Africa where living conditions are bad,” he said.
Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Grace Chiumia commended the Ngoni for sustaining the festival for many years, saying “these events help people know each other and their intangible cultural heritage”.
“This unites the people of Malawi and reminds us that we are one as a people,” she said.
President Peter Mutharika, who was the guest of honour, said culture is important in the development of a country as it unites people to have a common purpose in life.
“Culture is not just about identity. It is about values that we need to develop this country. Culture is not just about the way we think. It is also about the way we collectively think as Malawians either to develop or destroy our country.
“Culture is also a source of unity because culture binds us as one people. Culture should not be a source of division. There is always room for unity in diversity. And the unity is that we are all Malawians; one Malawi, one nation, one people,” he said. n