Minister of Community Development, Civic education and culture Grace Chiumia has applauded the Chewa Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi for discouraging harmful cultural practices to prevent the spread of HIV and Aids.
Chiumia was speaking at Mkaika, Chewa Headquarters in Katete Zambia on Saturday, at the Kulamba Traditional Ceremony, where Chewa people from Zambia Malawi and Mozambique pay homage to their Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi.
“Malawi government commends the Kalonga Gawa Undi for discouraging harmful cultural practices. Government strongly condemns this and it is making all efforts to eliminate such harmful practices. Let’s work together to ensure all forms of undesirable cultural practices are eliminated from our culture,” said Chiumia.
Chiumia said in most cases, girls fall victims to harmful cultural practices such as fisi which promote early marriages and the spread of HIV and Aids.
“I would like to commend the Chewa chief for promoting girl education, this is the only way the girl child can be empowered to play an active role in the development of our countries,” she said
She said President Peter Mutharika is spearheading several programmes such as providing conducive environment for girls to learn, and elimination of early marriages.
Chiumia then hailed the Kulamba festival which she said helps in the preservation of culture and promotes cultural identity among the chewa people.
“The Kulamba festival instills a sense of belonging, national pride and unity in the three countries,” she said.
Speaking through a representative Kalonga Gawa Undi encouraged the Chewa people to send boys and girls to school.
“While we are celebrating our culture we should ensure that we send our children to school especially girls to ensure that they are educated,” he said.
“Let us live in harmony with other tribes and remain united as chewa people,” he added.
Thousands of people from Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique gather at Mkaika Chewa headquarters in Katete, Zambia every year to pay homage to Chewa Chief, Kalonga Gawa Undi at the Kulamba Traditional Festival.
The ceremony aims at among other things celebrating the chewa culture through chewa rites and traditional dances.
The ceremony was attended by a cross section of people from Malawi led by Chewa chief Lukwa of Kasungu and other chiefs from Malawi notably Lomwe Paramount Chief Ngongoliwa and King Litunga of Barotseland in Zambia.