Tonga people to form ethnic grouping in Malawi

Tonga people of Nkhata-Bay District are banging their heads to seek ways of reviving their culture which they say is losing its originality due to migration of other people into the district and intermarriages.

Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Traditional Authority Mankhambira said some of the major factors that have contributed to the loss of originality of Tonga Culture include language being threatened due to inter-marriages and migration of other people like Tanzanians into the district.

“Tonga people have lost direction in language and culture. Let us revive our culture, why can’t we form a Tonga grouping like what other ethnic groups have done like, Mzimba Heritage and Mulhakho wa a Lomwe?” T/A Mankhambira wondered.

On his part, Traditional Authority Mkumbira welcomed the idea of forming the grouping, saying doing so could unify Tonga People wherever they are.

Tonga people with their Malipenga dance
Tonga people with their Malipenga dance

“Tonga people used to speak Tonga, but now with the coming in of other languages, the youth speak other languages, if we leave the situation as it is, we would lose our language, hence the need to promote our culture and language,” Mkumbira explained.

Joseph Nduna, who is also a Tonga, observed that traditional dances like Chilimika and Malipenga have been modified and lost taste in the process, a development which he said needs to be revised to the old style of dancing.

“Our youth now shun traditional dances like honala and malipenga, fearing they would be labeled old fashioned people, in this way we lose the roots of our culture,” he said.

Apart from Nkhata Bay, the Tonga people are also found in Nkhota-kota and Likoma districts in Malawi. They are also found in Mozambique and Zambia.

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