from SNIKE MZULAH in Siavonga, Zambia
SIAVONGA, (CAJ News) – ANNUAL traditional ceremonies are emerging as a cash cow for tourism in southern Zambia.
These events are mainly held in the Siavonga district, where an increase in business activities is noted and an economic boost received.
Every year, the district hosts two traditional ceremonies, namely Kalendele and Bagande Lwiindi.
The two are thanks giving festivals of the Tonga speaking communities that are a majority here.
During the ceremonies, people celebrate the successful harvest through feasts and cultural dances.
Elderly women, men and young people sing various traditional songs coupled with dances. They do this symbolically to thank divine intervention and the ancestral spirits for the good rains experienced during the previous agriculture season.
Local people also pray for more rains and a good harvest.
Kalendele takes place yearly on September 27. Bagande is on December 3.
Senior government officials, councilors, headmen, community members and investors attend the ceremonies.
Ostern Hamyongwa, a councilor of Sinadambwe ward, said traditional ceremonies attributed to the increase of tourists coming to visit Siavonga.
“We just have to be more creative in organizing these ceremonies in order to make them colourful,” he said.
“By doing this, we will be attracting more and more tourists to visit Siavonga and appreciate our traditional ceremonies,” Hamyongwa added.
He is also a member of the Bakuli Royal Establishment of Chief Sinadambwe.
Gerald Mutena, a Siavonga-based crafts and painting artist, said in recent years, the traditional ceremonies played a significant role in creating business opportunities.
“Every year when we have these traditional ceremonies, people see opportunities to make money,” the artist said.
Opportunities include the sale of artefacts, traditional clothes and traditional brew known locally as Munkoyo.
An historian, Phanwell Simamba, who is also the chief’s aide, described the traditional ceremonies as important occasions that brought people of various backgrounds together in order to celebrate and pay tribute to the departed chiefs’ spirits.
“Most of the time when we have these traditional ceremonies, the support from the government is not impressive,” Simamba said.
He appealed to the government for financial support in order for successful events.
“We also need to update our history curriculum in schools. Some of our traditional ceremonies are not there and our children are forced to learn about things that didn’t even exist in Zambia,” the historian said.
– CAJ News