Malawi government has rolled out a multi-million dollar four year cultural development project aimed at promoting investment and competitiveness in the tourism sector.
The project is being funded by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) to the tune of USD10 million with a US$1 million contribution from the Malawi public purse.
One of the project activities is the opening of three public viewing sites at Chongoni Rock Art World Heritage Site in Dedza.
Speaking to Nyasa Times, Department of Museums and Monuments Director Elizabeth Gomani Chindebvu highlighted the economic benefits of the sites, saying the rock arts have the potential to boost the tourism sector in Malawi.
“Malawi has over 200 monuments and innumerable relics and objects as well as intangible cultural heritage from the Stone age to iron age. Chongoni rock art site has 127 known rock paintings. This is the highest concentration of rock art in the whole central Africa,” Chindebvu said.
Chongoni rock art has red and white paintings which are believed to have been painted by the Akafula/Abatwa and the Chewa respectively.
“These paintings were used to communicate ideas and values. From the rock arts, you can tell that there is a strong connection between the paintings and contemporary traditions of initiation and also the Nyau cultural practices,” Chindebvu explained.
UNESCO declared Lake Malawi National Park and Chongoni Rock Art as World Heritage Sites in 1984 and 2006 respectively.
“Chongoni Rock Art Site was declared a World Heritage Site in 2006 after we submitted a nomination dossier which took us a number of years to develop.
“This means that the significance of the site transcends Malawi’s borders, the site is of global importance and therefore is open for global tourists,” Chindebvu explained.
Some of the cultural heritage institutions displaying and telling Malawi’s stories include Top Mandala, Chichiri museum, Karonga museum and Bua.
Malawi’s Gule Wamkulu, Vimbuza and Tchopa are some of the local Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) practices on UNESCO list.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :