The 12th edition of Mulhako wa Alhomwe cultural festival came, and ultimately the venue, the group’s headquarters at Chonde in Mulanje, proved to be too small.
A week before the festival, the event’s organising team chairperson Leston Mulli said they were planning to make this year’s ceremony the biggest ever by doubling the food, drinks and number of expected guests. But the overwhelming patronage might have surprised him too.
On Sunday morning, it was one way traffic from Limbe through Robert Mugabe Highway widely known as Midima Road as motorists raced towards Mulanje, Chonde in particular, to be part of the Mulhako wa Alhomwe.
From Friday, Chonde was transformed into a beehive of activities which climaxed on Sunday with the attendance of President Peter Mutharika.
The Lhomwe culture was on full display. The dances, the dressing and the aphrodisiacs, which the tribe is renowned for, were the order of the day as men and women were seen scrambling for gondolosi and tseketseke herbal powders.
The enthusiasm on the people’s faces was evident as everyone seemed eager to be part of the celebration. Apart from Lhomwe language, which was common dialect on the day, the epitome of the festival was offered by the traditional dancers who dazzled on a well-lit sunny day.
In his remarks, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Francis Phiso said culture is what defines people; hence, it is incumbent upon everyone to safeguard it.
“Gatherings such as this reminds us how important our culture is,” he said.
His call was resounded by President Mutharika who advised people against using cultural diversity to divide Malawians.
The festival was held under the theme Embracing Cultural Diversity and Unity. Paramount Chief Mpezeni of Zambia was among the dignitaries who attended the event.