Tumbukas to hold Gonapamhanya cultural festival, JB to attend

Tumbukas will hold their annual Gonapamhanya Cultural Ceremony at Themba la Mathemba Chikulamayembe’s headquarters in Bolero, Rumphi on Monday, November 19, 2012 .

President Mrs Joyce Banda is expected to grace the occasion.

Gonapamhanya is an annual commemoration of the arrival of the first Tumbuka king, Gonapamhanya, who ruled the Nkhamanga Kingdom.

Speaking in an interview with Nyasa Times on Friday, Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe said he expects paramount Chiefs M’mbelwa, Lundu and Kyungu to be among other high profile digniteries to attend the function.

”Everything is set. Preparations are in full swing and we expect a colourful ceremony,” said Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe.

Chikulamayembe: All set for the festival

Gonapamhanya is a Tumbuka annual festival that celebrates the Tumbuka heritage.

According to Chikulamayembe, Gonapamhanya ceremony recounts the history and origin of the Tumbuka people.

He said the ceremony aim to preserve the Tumbuka heritage which he said, is facing cultural decay due to westernization.

”Nowadays our youths do not cherish the tradtitional way of doing things. Westernization is influencing moral decay of tradtional values,” he said.

According to trusted sources of history, the first Tumbuka’s arrived in the northern Malawi in 1780 led by Kakalala Kasiwa who was later named Mlowoka after crossing Lake Malawi through Chilumba in Karonga district.

Mlowoka was in company of Kyungu, Katumbi, Mwahenga, Chipofya, Mwamulowe and Kabundui.

Kyungu and Katumbi went to Karonga and settled at Kasantha.

Mwamulowe settled at Mlowe on the shores of Lake Malawi while Mwahenga settled at Kabembe, Mhuju along Rukuru River.

Mlowoka, Chipofya and Kabunduli settled at Mlongoti in Rumphi. Kabunduli later relocated to Nkhata-bay.

Mlowoka was a merchant and traded in holes, clothes (Nsalu), beads which were exchanged with animal skins and Ivory.

His genorisity earned him the Tumbuka chieftancy. The local people married him to Nyaluhanga but had no child.

He was later married to another wife Nkhulinda Kumwenda with whom he had a son Gonapamhanya.

After Mlowoka’s death, his son Gonapamhanya was made chief in his father’s place.

From the reign of Gonapamhanya, 11 other chiefs have ruled under the Tumbuka chiftancy.

The current paramount chief Chikulamayembe, Walter Chenje is the 12th.

Born in 1932, he became chief in 1977. In 2002 he was elevated to Senior Chief. Late president Bingu wa Mtharika then elevated him to paramount chief in 2007.

This year’s function will be marked by traditional dances such as Mtungo, Vimbuza, ulumba and Mchoma among others.

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