Following in the footsteps of other tribal groups, Yao people have announced the launch of their cultural group called Chiwanja Cha a Yao.
The group, to be officially launched on October 29, will be holding annual cultural festivals aimed at uniting the Yao people and promoting cohesion.
“We are one of the largest groups, but we lack that kind of coordination,” said MacDonald Sembereka, spokesperson for the group.
He said the group will also strive to enhance visibility of Yaos and their contribution to national development.
“Yao people are hard-working and have been contributing to national development. We will be celebrating and encouraging more of that,” said Sembereka.
He said their initial attempts to launch the group failed due to political interference, among others.
“But we now have the involvement of all Yao traditional chiefs. It is purely a cultural thing and we are avoiding politics, bearing in mind that Yaos are people with different political affiliations,” said Sembereka.
He said that a special cloth for the ceremony has been designed and no party colours will be entertained during the ceremony.
Sembereka further indicated that they have invited political leaders from all political parties as well as religious leaders from various religious groupings.
“We have also invited former presidents Bakili Muluzi and Joyce Banda. These former presidents are Yaos and we just want to celebrate this day with them,” he said.
Commenting on the development, Malawi Cultural Heritage Association (Macha) interim coordinator Mathews Mfune welcomed the formation and planned launch of the new cultural grouping.
“I am aware that they have been preserving, protecting and promoting their culture for some time now. But they need to officially launch a group so that they can work as one, under one leadership,” he said.
Mfune, therefore, advised the leadership of the association to engage all Yaos in other parts of the country so that their cultural values are preserved.