Crowds attend Mulhako carnival: Topless girls perform

Mulhako Wa Alhomwe celebrated its five years of its existence in style at the organisation’s headquarters at Chonde, Mulanje over the weekend with thousands upon thousands of people coming to celebrate their culture in grand style and the return of topless girls.

The grouping which was established in order to provide exposure and preserve the Lhomwe cultural customs .

This was the first celebration that Lhomwes have gathered together without their founder and patron, late President Bingu Wa Mutharika who died of cardiac arrest in April this year.

As early as 6am on Sunday, the Chonde grounds were swarmed with people dressed in Lhomwe regalia and colours.

Newly initiated Lhomwe girls at the event.

The event, according to observers was a great success compared to last year’s and the only missing in action was the late Mutharika.

However, his younger brother and heir to the DPP presidency Peter Mutharika arrived with pomp and colour in a lookalike presidential motorcade.

Earlier late Mutharika’s wife Callista arrived in a green Toyota Land cruiser accompanied by aides for this memorable event.

All Lhomwe displays and the young initiated boys and bare-breasted girls were also available with  the guest of honour Paramount Chief Mkhumba accompanied by some chiefs from Zambia led by M’bang’ombe inspected the Lhomwe displays.

M’bang’ombe represented Chewa Paramount Chief of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, Kalonga  Gawa Undi who could not make it to the event.

Paramount Mkhumba who was declared at the ceremony new Patron of Mulhako Wa Alhomwe replacing late Mutharika arrived at the venue on a carrier hoisted by his subjects.

The establishment of Mulhako wa Alhomwe brought animosity among non-Lhomwe Malawians who deemed the organization as an ‘employment bureau’ aimed at catapulting the Lhomwes to influential positions in the Mutharika government.

Victimisation of Lhomwes

Speaking at the event, one of the group’s trustees and organisers, business magnet Leston Mulli called upon all Lhomwe’s to continue working together despite “facing numerous forms of victimisation “ under the current Joyce Banda administration.

He said that it is a fact that Lhomwes are facing different forms of injustice and victimisation following the death of President Mutharika.

“Our group is facing a lot of hell but I appeal to all of you to stand in unity,” said Mulli citing the firing of Lhomwes from government positions as a good example of these victimisations.

He said the alleged victimizations of  Lhomwes are facing should not discourage them but rather make them stronger and continue working together.

Mulli also appealed to all Lhomwes in Malawi to work hard in the areas of education and farming.

Other speakers at the event included Sub Traditional Authority Ngolongoliwa of Thyolo who spoke on behalf of Mkhumba and retired Chief Justice Richard Makuta who read a Lhomwe speech.

Apart from the traditional dances, recital of poems and speeches, people were also treated to free beers and food.

According to Mulli the organisation spent about K80 million for the event.

Other dignitaries

Other people who attended this year’s festival included the Mozambican ambassador to Malawi, Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo, former Reserve Bank governor Dr Perks Ligoya, fired Clerk of Parliament Matrida Katopola, former Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhitho.

Politicians included DPP’s Vice President Dr Jean Kalilani, Dr George Chaponda, Simon Vuwa Kaunda, Rev Dr Christopher Ngwira and Nix Masebo among many others.

This year’s festivities started with a church mass on Saturday at the nearby Menduro Parish where Lhomwes and parishioners prayed for the spirits of the departed in late Mutharika, his first wife Ethel, Mulhako spokesperson Hastings Maloya and another Mulhako official Maggie Malata.

The mass at Menduro Parish was offered by three priests that included Fr. Samela and two reverend fathers in Mwinganyama brothers.

The Lhomwes are largely found in Phalombe, Mulanje, Thyolo, Chiradzulu, Zomba and Machinga and they are identified according to their dialects namely Amihavan, Amanyawa, Amaratha, Alikhuku, Amarevoni, Amahito, Amakuwa, Anyamwello, Amuhipiti, Ameeto, Akhokhola, Amihekani, Amalokot, Anguru and Atakhwani.

Peter Mutharika at Mulhako wa Alhomwe festival
Mulhako wa Alhomwe carnival
A tradional dance by Lhomwe tradional chiefs at the event.
Former First Lady Callista Mutharika joins Nahache School youth dance.

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