The Ngoni tribe, one of the 13 tribes of Malawi has said language schools it introduced late last year in Lilongwe with the aim of promoting the Ngoni language have started to gain popularity.
Andrew Kamlopa Chisale, Chairman for Ngoni Lilongwe Chapter said in an interview that the schools were set up to address the cultural erosion that tribesmen were facing in urban areas due to the impact of mass communication.
“We introduced Ngoni language schools which are located in Area 12, 36, 49, 25, Kauma, Lumbadzi and Kawale just to mention a few where we have 158 learners out of which 60 are children. They are expected to be fluent in ‘Chingoni’ after three months,” explained Chisale.
Chisale further said the schools are free and they operate on Saturdays and during holidays to allow people who are interested but have tight schedules to attend.
“We are making sure that we bring back the language and people should know us through our language,” said the Chairman.
Most of the tribes are known by rebelling against one another but he said unity is a key tool because in togetherness there is power.
He added: “We missed out, but that should not be a reason to bring us down; we have the whole possibility of bringing our culture back.”
He added that people should be united in cultural preservation drive by taking culture as a daily life style so that they win the battle against cultural erosion.
“Understanding, that’s a challenge. People think that when we are promoting our culture then we have nothing to do. Culture is in blood. It’s not something we join therefore lets help each other to preserve it,” he said.
Ngwenyama Nkhata a form four learner at Green Hills Academy who started attending Ngoni classes in January, 2018 in area 49 Ngoni language school said he has been helpful because now he can be identified as a Ngoni through language.
“I am now fluent in speaking Chingoni thanks to this school,” he said.
The Ngoni trace their origins to the Nguni and Zulu people of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa as Bantu-speaking people of Northern Zululand in South Africa but due to instability they are scattered in Southern African countries.