By Esinter Gideon
Like any other society in the world, Malawi is governed by a culture whose values, customs and a host of social practices have a powerful influence on people.
Cultural practices, the manifestation of culture or subculture especially in regard to the traditional or customary practices of a particular ethnic or any other cultural group therefore consists of both negative and positive practices.
In a quest to preserve our culture, we tend to get caught between positive and negative cultural practices as to negative or harmful cultural practices results into things like the spread of HIV and AIDS, child marriages and violation of the people involved in malpractice of harmful cultural practice’s rights.
Despite several issues by government and non-governmental organization to curb the malpractice of harmful cultural practices, people across the country tend to not care to the circumstances and continue to practice them resulting in many harms in the country.
Inkosi Gomani V, Paramount Chief of the Maseko Ngoni emphasizes the importance of promoting and maintaining our culture and urged people to refrain from doing harmful cultural practices and copying other people’s cultures especially in these days of globalization.
“There are so many practices which our ancestors were doing but they are no longer practiced these days because they are considered incompatible with modern norms of what is right or wrong.
“Those aspects of our culture which are not compatible with acceptable norms of human dignity and respect for others will have to fall away. Culture is dynamic. It is influenced by many factors such as modern understanding of human rights,” he said.
Gomani said all people from different tribes to good practices and recognized the efforts of some other paramount chiefs’ effort in curbing harmful malpractices.
“Some of my Maseko Ngoni a Makhosi, notably Senior Chief Inkosi Kachindamoto of Dedza, has done commendable work in reducing child marriages.
I believe that with such determination and commitment, we can discard some aspects of our culture which may be considered unnecessarily punitive and incompatible with modern norms and values,’’ he pointed out.
On his part, Paramount Chief Lundu for the Chewa in the country, emphasized that harmful cultural practice must stop and urged people of different tribes to refrain from negative cultural practices like kulowa kufa and chokolo among others.
“Harmful cultural practices must go and follow the preservation of good cultural practices because negative cultural practices fuel the spread of HIV and AIDS and early pregnancies among others,” he said.
The Chewa Chief added that all chiefs in the country from Traditional Authorities to Senior Chiefs have discussed and agreed that any chief that would refrain from playing their role in combating bad cultures would face the consequences.
“It was every chief’s responsibility to administer his or her people to a right path and any chief that will be doing anything contrary to the expectations, he or she will receive punishment,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, all chiefs in the country are doing their best in encouraging good cultural practices and urging people to preserve good cultural practice and refrain from the malpractice of harmful practices.