Nkhoma Synod and Gulewankule clash

A row has erupted in Kasungu between the CCAP Church and Traditional leaders with Senior Chief Lukwa and Chief Mwase accusing churches in Kasungu of trying to suppress the premier Chewa dance Gulewamkulu during installation and elevation of chiefs who are Christians.

Chief Mwase speaking when elevating Senior Group Mnyungwe and others at Tundulu

Chief Mwase speaking when elevating Senior Group Mnyungwe and others at Tundulu

But moderator for the Nkhoma Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbytery (CCAP), Reverend Dr Chatha Msangaambe said that if the chiefs have any grievances concerning the church it is better to voice them officially through proper channels to the church leadership and not on public functions.

“It is disappointing that Gulewamkulu which marks the climax of any Chewa cultural function is not allowed to perform when Chewa chiefs who are Christians are being installed or elevated. Elevating or installing a chief is a cultural function and all traditional performances are expected to take part but it is surprising that while other traditional dances such as chintali, chimdidi and others are accepted, the church does not allow Gulewamkulu to perform,” complained Senior Chief Lukwa.

Senior Chief Lukwa was speaking recently at a ceremony held to elevate Group Village Headman Mwesambuzi to Senior Group Village Headman Mwesambusa, whose actual name is Benson Kaniki, a dedicated member of the CCAP Church and a well known wealthy businessman in Kasungu Town, trading under the name Nangantani.

Lukwa explained that the trademark of Chewa culture wherever you go is Gulewamkulu, it is the backbone of Chewa culture, but if the church believe there are certain issues that need to be corrected they will look at them and see if it is possible to make some changes to suit the church.

“If there are issues with Gulewamkulu which the Church feel are not in accordance with the church doctrine, then they should tell us so that we see how we can correct those issues,” Lukwa begged the Church.

He told the church representatives at the ceremony that he and Chief Mwase are themselves Christians but they understand that culture must be allowed to play its role in society.

Speaking at the same function, Chief Mwase echoed sentiments expressed by Senior Chief Lukwa saying every tribe is known by its culture and if there is anything Chewa culture is known for, it is Gulewamkulu.

“To denying Gulewamkulu from performing at a cultural function like this one is just as good as denying ourselves that we are not Chewas by tribe because Chewa is Gulewamkulu and Gulewamkulu is Chewa,” observed Mwase.

And speaking the following day at another elevation ceremony of Group Village Headman Tundulu to Senior Group Village Headman Tundulu, Chief Mwase repeated his complaints as Gulewamkulu was also barred from being featured at the function because two of the chiefs were catholic.

“I see that the church is now infringing on our cultural rights and many of you are afraid of being excommunicated from your churches,” Mwase observed and threatened saying: “From now on I will be forced to travel with Gulewamkulu from my headquarters to perform at these functions because I am not happy here to have a cultural ceremony without the performance of Gulewamkulu.”

In response to the accusations by the two chiefs, Dr Msangaambe, moderator of the CCAP Nkhoma Synod explained in an interview that Gulewamkulu has brushed shoulders with the church from as early as 1930s up to now.

“There have been instances where the church and Gulewamkulu have directly clashed especially during funerals where Gulewamkulu have claimed that the dead person belonged to their occult and so they are there to conduct funeral ceremony for their member, we have been resolving such issues,” explained Msangaambe.

On the proposal by chiefs that if there are certain elements in Gulewamkulu which the church does not like, the church should point them out so that they can be corrected, Dr Msangaambe said that the chiefs could find it difficult because it is the very elements which make Gulewamkulu to be what it is such as the secrecy surrounding it, the belief they implant in people that Gulewamkulu are spirits of the dead which are invoked from the world of the dead, the teaching of slandering, the magic involved in certain cases, and the extreme cruelty in certain instances administered to outsiders who underrate or expose the occult.

He said the church teaching does not allow such behavior because it is sinful; it is against the Bible teaching which is the core of Christianity.

The moderator emphasized saying: “Gulewamkulu is not a mere performance such as Chintali, Ngoma and other dances, it is a kind of religion, the true members believe in so many things including that they can reach God through the spirits of their forefathers.”

He acknowledged that certain parts of Chewa areas nowadays do not regard Gulewamkulu in such serious terms as other areas. He gave examples such as most parts of Kasungu where Gulewamkulu can originate from nowhere and still perform without being disciplined.

In certain parts of Lilongwe and Dedza Gulewamkulu is a serious matter and a chief is regarded as head of Gulewamkulu such that when he or any member of the occult dies, it is Gulewamkulu that conducts the funeral ceremony just as for a Christian where the church takes charge when the member dies.

To reduce conflicts with Gulewamkulu leaders, when a village or group village headman  becomes a Christian renouncing Gulewamkulu, the church demands that they bring letters from Traditional Authority bearing testimony that the village headman had indeed favoured Christianity to Gulewamkulu.

He said he is happy that many members of Gulewamkulu since the introduction of Christianity have renounced their membership and have become staunch members of the church, some have indeed become pastors and are winning souls for Christ from the same occult they belonged before they had an encounter with Christ.

However, the moderator acknowledges that not everything about Gulewamkulu is bad. He said there is beautiful art in Gulewamkulu. He cited the artistic regalia of Gulewamkulu as being very exceptional, the beautiful singing, sweet drum beating and the dancing itself of Gulewamkulu.

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41 thoughts on “Nkhoma Synod and Gulewankule clash”

  1. Gawa Undi says:

    Whenever I go to Kulamba ceremony we always start with a prayer before gule starts. This is because our Gawa is a stauch catholic. Who are these Nkhoma synods to point a finger at us when they were caught stealing USAID money live? They can’t even settle their differences with tribal Livingstonia because they are both tribalist christians . 95% of Malawian cashgaters are church going chriastians. Let our Chewa culture survive for the benefit of future generations.

  2. may says:

    I this dance really big “Gule wankulu”? I doubt,,ovinawo they always look malnourished, after being swept by wind all night long….They even fought with achawa ku lilongwe at Chinsapo…..achawa atakwiya they went wild like a rabid dog digging nyau tombstones..mpaka pano anyau akangoona munthu wovala kanzyuri pamutu amathawa ngati apysereza ndiwo pamoto…funso langa ndilakuti: kodi mafumuwa akufuna atazipanga chimozi*2 ndi achisilamu? asilamu akamapanga mwambo wawo kaya pamaliro iwonso anyau azikhalapo?

  3. charles says:

    Culture Vs Christianity KOMA KU NKHOMAKOOOOOOO//////

  4. Chifundo says:

    Gule wa Nkulu is not a tradition but its a Religion-Mpingo wa Aaron whats why Pakachitika maliro a Munthu wanyau mwambo amayendetsa okha. Bwanji Munthu amene amavina Ingoma akamwalira mmesa mwambo amayendetsa ndi a mpingo ngati munthuyo amapemphera, chimodzimodzi ndi magule ena onse kupatula Gule wankulu. Ampingo Sadalakwise pamenepa.

  5. MIKE (mchewa weniweni) says:

    Ufumu ndi chikhalidwe, nde ngati palibepo gule wamkulu nde tikutaya chikhalidwe.
    Chewas are associated with gulewankulu basi (nyau) palibe zosintha apa.
    A tchalitchi akakana nde angosiya kupanga participate za ufumu..

  6. johnM says:

    I believe that the chiefs from Kasungu are not serious. There is no way the two can co exist as the two have different beliefs. Clearly, if your are Nyau follower then you are not a Christian. You can’t have both performing at the same ceremonies.

    As the Reverend has put, in Lilongwe rural, Gule wa nkulu followers would not tolerate chirstians to be performing in their midst. May be in Kasungu and in parts of Blantyre, Chikwawa, Monkey Bay, the practitioners of Gule wa Nkulu are not very strict. In Lilongwe rural and Dedza, I just do not see the practitioners of Gule wa Nkulu attending a funeral ceremony side by side with members of Nkhoma Synod.

  7. Only the Truth says:

    The main problem with some of our traditions is that, though they look innocent on the surface, they have dark secrets and they are controlled by dark powers that also control the people that practice them. That is why its very difficult to convince someone who is practicing these traditions to leave them. Traditions like ‘kulowa kufa, bulangete la mfumu, fisi, nyau, witchcraft, zinamwali, etc, are good examples. Others are the traditions that almost every tribe in Malawi follows when there is death. In other tribes, for instance, individuals are forced to perform some secret rituals like exchanging clothes with the dead body if the deceased is your twin brother or sister; a widow is advised to have sex with a chosen relation of the deceased; and in others, the relations of the deceased are coerced to eat or drink ‘things’ that have been mixed with concoctions from witchdoctors.

    The main reason the dark powers want us to continue with these ‘cultures’ is to make sure that the coming generations continue to be under their control. You can observe the effects of these traditions everywhere you look in Malawi, though the dark powers make sure you don’t see the connection. You know families whose members experience similar challenges; families that produce only prostitutes, drunkards, or armed robbers; families where nobody prospers regardless of education; families where every man marries more than one wife; communities that are respected for their witchcraft prowess, or areas that are well-known for their prostitutes, etc. All these are not normal and the earlier you, as an individual, realise this, the better. It is up to individuals to make a decision whether they want to continue with the status quo or say ‘enough-is-enough’ and defect to Jesus Christ. ‘And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’ John 8:32.

  8. FKS says:

    Gulewakulu is not a mere traditional dance, it’s a cult. U can not claim to be Christian and a cult member in the pretext of gulewakulu at the same time.
    If God be ur Lord follow Him, but if Baal then follow him [1KINGS 18;21]
    These nyau people cause confusion in churches becoz they’re agents Satan. Tell them plainly either to choose Baal or God. GOD BLESS U ALL

  9. dadaboma says:

    Both christians and gulewankulu serve god although the manner of service differs. Both should be allowed to perform at a funeral function of a deceased who belonged to both of these religions. No one is right about a religion, and no one is wrong, and so barring one religion from performing at a function is being selfish and inviting trouble. Both of these religions should co-exist. After all, christianity is a foreign religion in the areas where gulewankulu is practiced – gulewankulu members are the owners of the land, let them practice their religion freely. I thought there is freedom of worship in Malawi? So why Nkhoma synod harass gulewankulu? No no no no. As a citizen from this area I’ve grown up being both a gule and christian fan, and I’ve been concerned with the consequences of my duality.

    1. johnM says:

      You must be joking, Do you know Gule wa Nkulu? How can you say that they both serve God?

  10. F makiyi says:

    If it is really base on Christianity even on occasion and rallies of Christian president shouldn’t perform not only chiefs and remember you can not force a horse to drink water. Real Christian knows sin. Reshape gulewamkulu. To tolerate with Christianity. Gulewamkuli is not a spirit of dead people but its what?

  11. Onyamata okumadzi ovuta,olufuna zawo ziwayendere

  12. Dusty says:

    Being mchewa it doesn’t mean ndiwe WA nyau.Kunkhala WA nyau its your choice and being a Christian its your choice osamakamizana.Iwe Lukwa ndimzako mwase mukunama.Nyau is evil and we should not pretend kuti nyau is good.

  13. Chief says:

    In 10 years time, there will be no nyau.

  14. Galu wapananji Mwale says:

    Tli m’masiku otsiliza!

  15. Galu wapananji Mwale says:

    Tili m’masiku otsiliza!

  16. PEFECO says:

    za kaisala kwa kaisala, za Mulungu kwa Mulungt

  17. Prestine says:

    A Christian chief should decide, whether to please the church or the cultural practices, bcoz no one can serve two masters, rest the other will be annoyed.

  18. Gwede Vusoe says:

    My fellow chewas and malawians am happy that we spend our time commenting but i suggest that it is good shut up rather proceeding in showing our stupidity and ignorance by despising our own culture.

  19. Fathi Alshab says:

    tge vest compromisr is that thdchrustisn instsllation be dobe sroarstrly and finsl dsy do thd cukgyfsk evdbf jutu gukewankuluhi abvind nkumwa mowa vasi zathe. indded thd chirf uf fof both the christians &nonchrustians…period.

  20. Bongololo says:

    The chewas are at war with each other. Ha! I love it!

  21. chipatso says:

    Follow what Jesus taught us to do.and abandon all that he (Jesus) did not.dont take what a busa tells you to do.they are there to mislead
    People.they know what the fact is, but they try to hide it.god’s curse be upon them.

  22. Zoona Phiri says:

    Gulewamkulu sipano ayi ndi patali. Malamulo ake osalembedwa koma otsatibwa ndithu. Nyimbo imati “gule wa makolo sadzatha uyu, koma tchalitchi limatha tawonera CCAP kutha ku tawuni”.

  23. Ben Batala says:

    Lukwa, Mwase or any other chief you cant fight the most high Jehovah. Kufumbi mubwereradi. Nyau ndi anthu simizimu ayi. Mumanama ndiye you want church to entertainm that. Chamba kapena misala iwe lukwa?

  24. che Mbela says:

    The Christian God is a jealous God. It is a commandment that one who worships Yahweh should not have another God. Men must choose either to worship Yahweh or another God of their choice. Matters should not be forced to mix.

  25. Piper says:

    No Kang’wing’wis @ church please !!!

  26. Kachisyuli Vimbwete says:

    There goes our misguided men of God. Always thinking the are beyond reproach and their constituency goes as far as the heavens and beyond.

    Know your boundaries please.

  27. mboniyabwalo says:

    Not all chewas go to gulewankulu. If the chief to be installed goes to nyau . The church can’t go there. The church only appears to the installation of a chief who is also a member of the church. It is up to the installed Christian chief to decide leaving the church and opt to have mzinda. You can’t see Nkhoma synod interfering.

  28. munthu wabwino says:

    In all religions people reach God through spirits. What is wrong if the Chewa reach God through the spirits of their ancestors. Is Jesus alive bwana moderator? The moderator is totally brainwashed.

    1. FKS says:

      Evil spirits do not reach to God Jehovah but to their god Baal.
      In short its u who’s brainwashed

  29. Sakhwi ndi pitala says:

    too much ufiti anthu a gule inu, zanuzo nzachikunja zotsutsana ndi bible. Choose Chrch or Nyau, Period

  30. Akulisinga says:

    iyi ndi mipingo iwiri yosiyana. zikhulupilironso ndizosiyana kutali tali uyo wasankha mpingo wakana gule visa-vesa. mpingo ndi chakwanu leka anthu. a Mulungu.

    1. chipatso says:

      Inde iyi yonseyi ndi mipingo yosiyana ndipo ine ndi kuti kukhala mipingo ya anthu kuthanthauza kuti si zipembezo izi ayi.ndi mipingo chabe yolongosola za zikhalidwe basi.

  31. sothi says:

    i dont c any reason 4 these 2 parties to quarrel.just share ceremonies

  32. Babanibanamphoyozauka says:

    Sono Muriska Lazarus Chakwera wa Emusipi wakutipo wuri pa aya makani ya achawa?

  33. Masoapatali adaongola Mtengo. says:

    The church came after Gulewamkulu. So why should the new comer be the ruler?

  34. Kwanunkwanu Phiri says:

    I note knowledge gap in the man of God here. His explaination and understanding lacks detail and truth. Abusa should know that chiefs installation is NOT a church function. Becvause the church never brought chieftainancy in this country. It is a traditional function. It is like Gulewamkulu wanting to perform at Amayi a Mvano meeting or at msonkhano wa chitsitsimutso.

    Abusa, you need to know your bounds. Religion is good, so is culture. You dont have to look wiser than these people. And for your information, the chiurch has completely failed to defeat not just gulewmkulu, but all cultural practices that make the fabric of society. In Nkhoma, 500 metres from the moderator’s house, Gule Wamkulu thrives, from time immemorial. Like chiefs said, stopping gulewamkulu is terminating the Chewa People. Remember, you found gulewamkulu, and NOT the opposite. If you cant live with the chewa people, go live with other tribes.

  35. Palibe nkhani apa. Chikhristu or not koma ngati ndiwe Mchewa weni weni, nyau singalekane nawe. Ndiwe a Chewa, tchalitchi idatipeza tili choncho, ndi gule wathu wankulu. Kudana ndi nyau nkudana ndi Mchewa.

  36. Kasiya boy says:

    Kodi akuletsa gulewankuluyu ndiochokera kuti? Ngati ndi achewa enieni chikhalidwe chawo amapanga chani? Ife ndi achewa chonde musasokoneze chikhalidwe ndi mpingo ayi ine ndi wa ccap koma ndine mchewa kodi mukufuna tizivina gule wanji? Ingoma? Zachamba

  37. mary says:

    Masewelatu mwayambawa.

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