JB persuades chiefs for Yao heritage group : ‘ Ndamo sya Yao’

Exactly two weeks after she called on her clan’s leaders to revive their heritage and renew their pride, Malawi President Joyce Banda on Sunday met the Yao chiefs where she reiterated her appeal.

President Banda, a Yao herself, first made the appeal at Hora Mountain in Mzimba District when she presided over this year’s uMthetho Cultural Festival for the Ngoni people.

During the event, the president urged the Yao chiefs to consider reviving the Yao heritage in order to preserve their culture and renew their pride.

And speaking when she met the chiefs at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre, the President observed that just like other tribes in the country, the Yao have rich history worthy observing.

President Banda: Preserve Yao heritage

“You have all what it takes to have a vibrant Yao heritage so I urge you to take up this challenge and seriously consider reviving it,” Banda told the chiefs.

In Malawi, the Yao are spread in a number of districts but are primarily found in Eastern districts of Mangochi, Machinga, Balaka and Zomba where President Banda also hails.

Banda observed that through their language and practicing of various cultural events, the Yao people have every reason to have pride in their heritage.

The Malawi leader then asked the chiefs to encourage use of their language among their subjects.

Most Yao people are easily identified because of their unique tongue which does not easily change even if they are speaking other languages.

Various tribes in Malawi organise colourful annual events such as Umthetho (Ngoni), Kulamba (Chewa) and Mulhakho wa Alhomwe which usually take place at their headquarters.

The Yao are the only big tribe in Malawi without a Paramount Chief but the president has asked the Yao traditional leaders to consult widely before one is finally identified.

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