The Chewa cultural festival, Mkumano wa Achewa, which was slated for tomorrow at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe has been postponed.
In a brief statement, the Chewa Heritage Foundation (Chefo) general secretary Numeri Geresomo says the postponement has been necessitated by the passing of seasoned politician John Zenus Ungapake Tembo on Wednesday at Lilongwe Private Clinic.
“The executive committee of the Chewa Heritage Foundation in liaison with Chewa chiefs would like to inform the general public that the Chewa festival which was supposed to be held at Civo Stadium on Saturday September 30 has been postponed to October 14,” reads the communication in part.
In a separate interview on Thursday, Chefo spokesperson Jimmy Chikuni said they arrived at the decision after the government announced that Tembo’s funeral will be a State Funeral, which they say required them to align with the same spirit.
Chikuni said: “As Chewas, our belief is that when someone has been bereaved, we should be with that person as principles of compassionate. The Mkumano wa Achewa event required us to come together in a celebratory mood.
“To us it does not make sense to converge in celebrations when our friends next door are mourning; hence, the decision to postpone the festival.”
The spokesperson admitted that the postponement will represent a loss in terms of resources spent as part of the preparations for the event.
“There is little we can change now. We will regroup and try to reorganise ourselves to deliver a good event come October 14. Luckily, the delegates we had invited have understood our position and we hope that they will be with us,” he said.
The organisers say the celebration of the Chewa heritage will include a display of Chewa traditional dances such as mganda, chimtali, gulewamkulu, m’njedza, gwanyasa and chisamba.
Ironically, the Gonapamuhanya Cultural Festival was shifted from September 30 to October 7 to pave the way for the Mkumano wa Achewa Festival. Its organising committee chairperson principal senior group village head Jeyeka Mbale said they could not hold it on the planned date because it collided with the Chefo event.