Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) almost derailed the annual cultural festival, Gonapamuhanya, organised by Tumbuka ethnic group in Rumphi to commemorate the first Chikulamayembe as they fought for political dominance.
The annual cultural event saw the clash of the DPP and MCP supporters as the ruling party took centre stage, refusing the MCP and Aford supporters dance for their leaders.
The DPP, MCP and Aford supporters came in full party attire.
This overshadowed the whole cultural event as Bolero turned a political battleground.
Local government and rural development minister Kondwani Nankhumwa, Civic Education and Culture minister Patricia Kaliati, MCP president Lazarus Chakwera, MCP vice president Richard Msowoya and Aford president Enoch Chihana attended the event and sat side by side as they watched the party clashes.
Rumphi District Council chairman Harry Mkandawire told traditional leaders to ensure the continued neutrality of the annual event.
He asked the traditional leaders not to allow party cadres put on party colours during such neutral cultural events in the future, saying politics is destroying the whole essence of the event.
Speaking at the event, Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe, who is the twelfth, said culture is important for social development of the nation.
According to the Paramount Chief, the origin of the name Chikulamayembe, “ is a corruption” of the Swahili words ‘chukuwa jembe’ (take a hoe).
“The name came from farming. The Tumbuka in the area were farming without hoes. But we said chukuwa jembe. We were Swahili speaking from Timbuktu. But the Tumbuka could not understand us. They thought we said ‘I am chikulamayembe.’
“Chikulamayembe is a corruption of chukuwa jembe. But we are the ones who came with hoes. That’s why we say our chieftaincy came on a silver platter. The Tumbuka gave us the chieftaincy because we came with hoes, soap and jewels. We never killed anyone,” he said.
Gonapamuhanya was the first Chikulamayembe to settle at Bolero where the Chikulamayembe chieftaincy is today.
The present Chikulamayembe Walter Gondwe took over the throne in 1969 as an acting chief after Chikulamayembe the eleventh (John Hardy Gondwe also known as Ziwange) was sick.
In 1977, Walter was installed as Chikulamayembe the twelfth.
In 2002, Chikulamayembe was elevated to senior chief. And in 2007, he was made Paramount Chief. In 2012, his son Mtima Gondwe was unveiled as acting Chikulamayembe at a similar event.
Gonapamuhanya is commemorated through recounting of the history, lineage as well as traditional dances such as mchoma, mitungo, vimbuza, chioda as well as Mulhakho wa Alhomwe’s musekere.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :