Zambia observes the annual N’cwala Traditional Ceremony

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Zambia observes the annual N’cwala Traditional Ceremony

THE SouthernTIMES Mar 20, 2018

    > Jeff Kapembwa

    Lusaka - The Ngoni people of eastern Zambia held their annual and popular N’cwala traditional ceremony on Saturday, February 24, to mark the first harvest of the year.   

    The ceremony marks the beginning of the harvest and as thanksgiving to their God and ancestors. The ceremony is held at Mutenguleni village near Chipata, near the border with Malawi.

    The foot stomping festivity, embracing the Ngoni people who settled in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique is a reincarnation and is reminiscent of their heritage from KwaZulu Natal in South Africa during the 1835s.

    N’cwala was revived in Zambia by Paramount Chief Mpezeni III in the 1980s, as a traditional ceremony compelling the Ngoni people to pay homage to their ancestral              spirits.

    They also commemorate their victories during their tribal wars when they migrated from present-day South Africa. It is also meant to praise God for giving them fresh crops in the fields.

    During the thanksgiving ceremony, people congregate at Mutenguleni, where groups of dancers clad in traditional attire, armed with spears and dressed in animal skins display their skills.

    The paramount chief organises several dances and events.  Traditionally, he is the only one allowed to sip the blood of the bull killed during the ceremony.  He later samples every season’s new foods and later blesses it.

    Over the years, the event has become a popular attraction both for local and foreign tourists. Many companies have also taken advantage of the N’cwala popularity.

    Many sponsors have come on board to fund the event this year and, as a marketing strategy, some companies are using the platform to market their products given the influx of people expected from across Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

    One of the major corporate sponsors of the event - Airtel Zambia, Zambia’s leading mobile service provider ‑ has this year contributed ZMW50,000 (US$10,000) towards the organising of the ceremony.  

    The company’s acting Marketing Director, Estud Tonga, said they decided to be part of the historic ceremony in support of Zambia’s quest to preserve its heritage for generations to come.

    “Traditional ceremonies are a means of safeguarding Zambia’s cultural heritage and Airtel is proud to supplement government efforts towards promoting and preserving this heritage,”                                        Tonga said.

    The company had recently assisted and funded the research, compilation of data and finally authoring detailed literature not only on the now famous traditional ceremony book, outlining Zambia’s rich cultural background and how various traditional ceremonies, celebrated by the 72 tribes in the country started.

    Tonga further commended the government and the N’cwala organising committee for their perseverance in protecting and preserving the cultural heritage for the sake of history.

     

     

     
     
     

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