CHOMBA MUSIKA, Lusaka
LUSAKAâ€™S central business District last Saturday came to a standstill as traditional dancers from the countryâ€™s 10 provinces displayed their skills aboard more than 10 moving vans that drove through several townships to mark the second edition of the Pamodzi Carnival.
The carnival once again started from Woodlands, and then moved through Chilenje, Kabwata, Cairo Road and Garden township before terminating at the Lusaka Showgrounds.
At the showgrounds, other than the traditional dances, there were also literary and visuals arts on display as well as an array of traditional foods and drinks. It was about bringing together artistes from across the nation in celebrating the countryâ€™s diversity, and in recognition of the richness of its cultural heritage.
As the procession of ecstatic dancers meandered through the streets, children and adults marvelled at the panorama as they captured the moment on their phones.
But the favourite piece of art was the Makishi dancer who was dangling a live snake.
But it was also obvious that some onlookers had no idea about the colourful procession, an indication perhaps that an event of this magnitude needs more marketing and publicity.
Last year, President Lungu attended.
This time around, it was the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet Peter Kasanda who was the guest of honour.
In his speech, he said government will continue to support initiatives aimed at promoting cultural diversity and unity such as the Pamodzi Carnival.
Kasanda said the carnival is an important event which has the potential to nurture peace and unity in the country.
He commended the Ministry of Tourism and Arts for adhering to President Lunguâ€™s directive to make the carnival an annual event.
During the first edition of the carnival last year, President Lungu challenged the Ministry of Tourism and Arts to ensure the festival becomes an annual event.
â€œIâ€™m proud to announce that the Ministry has taken the presidential directive seriously and the carnival is now an annual calendar event,â€ Kasanda said.
â€œThe name Pamodzi, which means together, is very fitting as it is in line with Governmentsâ€™ quest to unite citizens from all parts of the country.â€
The carnival has potential to improve the income of participants who trade their artistic works and services to the public.
â€œThe carnival is in line with President Lunguâ€™s call to diversify the economy and I urge artists to embrace excellence in their work to complement Governmentâ€™s quest to develop the creative industry,â€ he said.
He urged the Ministry of Tourism to ensure the carnival attracts international participants who can be turned into tourism ambassadors to market the countryâ€™s rich cultural heritage globally.
And Ministry of Tourism and Arts acting permanent secretary Zachariah Luhanga said he is hopeful that government will continue supporting the carnival.
Luhanga said the event is a unique national cultural tourism product meant to celebrate the countryâ€™s rich cultural heritage.
CHOMBA MUSIKA, Lusaka