Celebrating cultural diversity

…I guess I had to go to that place to get to this one/ Now some of you might still be in that place/ If you are trying to get out/ Just follow me…

Such a powerful rendition is taken from I’m not afraid, a hit by US rapper, Eminem.

A perfomer from Taruna Cultural Dance mesmerises the audience with his moves

And it perfectly sums up what just happened this week in the on-going third Egyptian Cultural Week launched with a round table discussion at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) Bunda Campus.

Held under the theme The Africa We Want: Our youth, Our culture, Our future, panelists expertly convinced those in attendance, especially students, that excellence in their field of study or work was possible; and that hard work had no substitute.

Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani explained that as young as he is, he has what it takes to champion culture.

“It is all about passion,” says the chief who was just 12 when he was crowned in 2009 to lead the Maseko Ngonis in the country.

Some likened the young Ngoni chief to Tutankhamen.

At the age of nine Tutankhamen (Tutankhamun) became pharaoh. King Tut, as a lot of people call him, was considered too young to rule Egypt.

“Yes, I was a young man then [during installation], and still can be considered to be today. But just as it takes the whole village to raise a child, no chief administers a people on their own. I have advisors we call Impis in our set up. They remain very helpful. Therefore, age matters less in life; the passion that you have does,” he explains. The chief says by harnessing culture countries can strengthen ties.

The chief’s sentiments were shared by Luanar  acting vice-principal Professor Emmanuel Kaunda, Frank Mwenechanya, who is also managing director for Fisd Limited Company and Eve Kasambara, programmes manager at mHUb who all highlighted the need to learn from Egyptian culture and what young Egyptian rulers achieved.

“I think the cultural week is an opportunity to us all to highlight our observations, air our concerns, and develop meaningful and impactful solutions that can change the perception of the youths on culture; and the many opportunities that our cultural roots has for the future of Africa and Malawi in particular,”says Mwenechanya.

He says Malawi can buy a leaf from Egyptians owing to their rich vein in cultural heritage.

From time immemorial, Egypt has embedded its name in the global arena for having a rich cultural history. Civilisation traces its roots from the North Africans.

Egyptians are known to have invented the papyrus on which they expressed their culture through hieroglyphics; a symbol type of writing.

Even irrigation, an area Mwenechanya’s Fisd continues to excel on currently, was first invented by Egypt in the form of the Shadoof.

The pyramids, where they buried their Pharaohs, are yet another masterpiece that made its way to the Seven Wonders of the World.

Their dances are even amazing to watch. The Taruna Cultural Dance is one export the Egyptians marvel on, and it showed during the cultural week.

To a lay man, the dance revolves around a multi-coloured ‘skirt’ won by a male dancer and is gradually, in rhythm to the drum beat plus a flute tune, moved up the trunk towards the head before it is turned into a huge umbrella or a shade.

A famous Egyptian artist Farid Fadel, was also flown in for the cultural showpiece, and seemed to have justified his air ticket with some exquisite paintings at the inauguration of an art exhibition at the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC), alongside other works from some local artists.

Ambassador Maher El-Adawy was full of praises of how the event panned out.

“Malawi too, can learn from the Egyptians by promoting their own culture by mainly investing in their youths today. Actually, this is the whole essence of holding the cultural week here,” he says.

Director of culture in the country Elizabeth Gomani-Chindebvu, agrees.

“Cultural ties are a sign of strong bilateral ties the country has with Egypt, and the Egyptian Cultural Week is important as it promotes cultural diversity and dialogue,” she explains.

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