State Vice President Joyce Banda has donated K400,000 towards transport and other preparatory costs for the Ngoni Chiefs of Mchinji who on Friday, February 24, 2012, travel to Ngoni Paramount Chief Mpezeni Headquarters in Chipata, Zambia for the annual N’cwala Festival to be held on Saturday, February 25, 2012.
Paramount Chief Mpezeni is a chieftainship of the Ngoni people of Zambia’s Eastern Province and Malawi’s Mchinji district.
The N’cwala ceremony takes place once a year among the Ngoni of Mchinji in Malawi to pay special respect to the Paramount Chief and the festival, which is presided over by Chief Mpezeni, takes place at Mutenguleni village, near Chipata. It is also a celebration of the first fruits of the season. The Ngoni of Chipata in Zambia also celebrate a similar event.
Banda, who is also the founding President of the People’s Party (PP), made the donation in response to a request the Ngoni Chiefs of Mchinji made recently for financial assistance to enable them travel and attend this year’s festival.
According to the People’s Party Provincial Chairman for the Centre, Kizito Ngwembe who presented the cash on behalf of the PP leader, the chiefs had not been able to attend last year’s celebrations because of lack of financial and other logistical provisions and having noted that, the State Vice President “swiftly and happily offered the assistance”.
Making the donation to the Chiefs at Ndawambe in T/A Mlonyeni’s area in Mchinji, Ngwembe said the Vice President wished them well as they travel to Zambia “for this very significant traditional and cultural event”.
“The VP understands fully that as a people, we cannot develop a true understanding of the people we interact with without having a clear understanding of our own cultures; cultures affect human behaviour,” Ngwembe told the Chiefs, adding that the VP was more than willing to assist in future should the Chiefs require any assistance.
Ngoni Senior Chief Mlonyeni of Mchinji hailed the VP for the “timely intervention”, observing it was only the State Vice President who had positively responded to their request “when we sought assistance from many other important leaders of the country”.
The Mpezeni chieftainship was founded by Zwangendaba, a former general of King Shaka of the Zulu, who fled the Mfecane. It is named after the Ngoni warrior-king Mpezeni who rose up in 1897 with over 4,000 warriors against the British who were taking control of Nyasaland and North-Eastern Rhodesia, and was defeated.
He signed a treaty which allowed him to rule as Paramount Chief of the Ngoni and his successors use his name in the title to this day.