Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has backed the formation of ethnic cultural associations, saying they foster unity and development in the country.
Gondwe made the remarks on Saturday at Chintheche Airfield in Nkhata Bay when he presided over the launch of Nkhata Bay-Tonga Heritage.
Gondwe views samples of Tonga meals on Saturday
“Heritage associations enhance unity among people and are a tool for developing the country. As government, we want Tonga heritage to be sustained so that the culture of Nkhata Bay is preserved,” he said.
The Reverend Maxwell Mezuwa Banda, who headed the organising committee of the launch, said the tribe along the northern shoreline of Lake Malawi is determined to restore its way of life which has been diluted by foreign influences.
“We have lost our Tonga culture,” he said. “We want to preserve Tonga language which was dying. Women have forgotten our way of dressing. They now wear pair of trousers. We want to restore our traditional dress too.”
Senior Chief Mkumbira envisions the new cultural group uniting what he termed “the divided tribe” which is believed to have migrated from Egypt.
The event was spiced by Tonga foods like nsima ya vigawu (a meal made of cassava flour), roasted cassava, groundnuts and roasted green bananas.
On traditional dances, the Tongas showcased their traditional dances such as honala, malipenga, and chilimika.