Africa-Press – Malawi. Malawi President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera will attend this year’s Kulamba traditional ceremony of the Chewa people Saturday, August 27th, 2022 at Paramount Chief, Kalonga Gawa Undi’s Headquarters at Mkaika in Katete District, Zambia.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the president’s visit Thursday in a statement. However, the Foreign Affairs ministry have not yet given out the full details of president Chakwera’s visit and attendance attendance to the festival saying to will be communicated later.
Nyasa Times understands that this year’s traditional ceremony will be the first in two years due to the global pandemic, Covid-19 restrictions. The cultural festival, which has always been held on the final Saturday of August, every year, save for the last two years, brings together Chewa’s from Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.
The chewas from the three neighbouring countries throng Mkaika every year to pay tribute and respect to their king Kalonga Gawa Undi. Coordinator of Chewas in the three countries, Senior Chief Lukwa, has told Zodiak Online that the ceremony is expected to be held the last weekend of August
The Kulamba Traditional Ceremony is an annual event held in Zambia. The ceremony is celebrated towards the end of August each year in Mkaika. The ceremony is a way of bringing together different Chewa chiefs from the three countries to present their reports of grievances to paramount chief Kalonga Gawa Undi.
The name Kalonga means the one who installs subordinate chiefs. Gawa is the one who gives out land and Undi means the one who protects the subordinates. The Kalonga Gawa Undi is head of all the Chewa chiefdoms and takes care of all the installations of chiefs not only in Zambia but in Malawi and Mozambique as well.
The ceremony was banned by the colonial masters in 1934 but paramount chief Kalonga Gawa Undi Chivunga revived the ceremony in 1984. Since then, it has been an annual event.
On the day of the ceremony, the center of attraction is the main area where all the dignitaries are seated. The entrance of paramount chief Kalonga Gawa Undi into the arena signifies the start of the ceremony.
Visitors from Zambia and Chewa’s from neighbouring Malawi and Mozambique are entertained to a variety of dances that are from three countries. A variety of dances like Gule Wamukulu (Nyau), Gologolo, Makanja, Muganda, Chinamwali, Chimtali (the female dance) and many others are performed during the ceremony.
The Nyau or popularly known as the Gule Wamukulu among locals, is the most celebrated dance among the Chewa people. The Nyau dance (Gule Wamukulu) was officially recognized by UNESCO in 2006 and the (Nyau dancers) are referred to as Vilombo (animals) in Chewa traditions, which is believed to have emanated from dead spirits.
Also part of the Kulamba ceremony is an annual initiation ceremony for the young girls who have come of age. The ‘anamwali’ or young girls have been in confinement where they have spent time being taught skills and responsibilities of womanhood.