Chewa Heritage Foundation (Chefo) has warned Gulewamkulu imitators to stop using the traditional dance for criminal purposes or face the law.
Speaking during a press briefing in Lilongwe on Tuesday, Chefo publicity secretary Jimmy Hendricks Chikuni lamented the number of cases that Chefo has received recently on misconducts of gulewamkulu within the Central Region.
“Chefo is disappointed to hear about the cases associated with gulewamkulu in some parts of the country such as Lilongwe, Mchinji, Dowa and Dedza. We have received complaints that gulewamkulu has been blocking roads, begging, stealing and beating people among other violent acts,” he said.
Chikuni said the gulewamkulu imitations has been going as far as dressing in religious and political party attires which is common in areas 24, 36, Lilongwe City West bypass road and Kalinyeke in Dedza.
He condemned the misconduct and described it as unacceptable in the Chewa culture and gulewamkulu traditions.
“As Chefo, we are condemning this vice. Ideally, gulewamkulu comes out on specific occasions such as funerals, coronations, initiations and tombstone unveiling among other traditional functions,” said Chikuni.
He said gulewamkulu comes from initiation camps, but the ones committing crimes do not identify with any initiation camp.
“As Chefo we say that is not gulewamkulu, but imitators who in most cases are not from our tribe, trying to tarnish the reputation of the respectable cultural dance,” Chikuni said.
He, therefore, said they had a meeting with Chewa chiefs where they warned them against tolerating the imitators.
Chikuni said on average at least five cases every week are happening.
On his part, Senior Chief Malili of Lilongwe warned that chiefs who will not adhere to the rules or allow imitators go unpunished will be stripped of their chieftaincy.
“We agreed that all chiefs portraying negligence with our new rules should be charged, but when we see no changes we will report them to the district commissioner to revoke their monthly payment or strip them of their role as chiefs,” he said.