Entertainment Theatre

Gule Wamkulu shows up at playhouse

LUSAKA Playhouse last Saturday hosted the Gule Wamkulu in its car park, much to the delight of  residents who turned up to watch the spectacular cultural dance.
The hosting of Gule Wamkulu was part of the little theatre’s quest to restore its image as a cultural centre and artistic venture.
The event, also held to mark Valentine’s Day, is the second after a comedy show last month involving Dangerous Joburg and Bob Nkosha.
In an interview with the Weekend Mail, Lusaka Playhouse board secretary and productions chairperson Crawford Moyo said the performance by Gule Wamkulu is among the many “cultural, artistic and entertaining” activities that have been lined up for the whole year.
“This place [Playhouse] has been dead and it seems the people who had been managing it were not artists because what was happening here had nothing to do with artistic activities.
“But now, we have lined up a number of activities such as traditional dances to promote our diverse culture, poetry nights, musical performances by various artistes, comedy shows and plays that will take place every weekend,” said Moyo, who is also a veteran actor.
Now, Lusaka residents who turned up to watch the Gule Wamkulu, performed by Kulamba ceremony cultural ensemble, commended the playhouse management for coming up with an initiative aimed at promoting the country’s cultural diversity.
“This event is a very great idea. It is a good way of educating and reminding our children about our cultural beliefs…many Zambians don’t appreciate their culture,” said Vincent Banda of Lusaka’s Garden House, who was in the company of his two daughters.
And his daughters, Priscilla, 15, and Mercy, 22, who were seen taking pictures and videos of Kasinje dances by the Gule Wamkulu, said they were happy to watch the unique traditional performances.
Gule Wamkulu, which is a secret cult and ritual dance practised among the Chewa people living in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, has been proclaimed as an intangible cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
“Being here has helped me spend my time wisely. Instead of just facebooking all day, I am here with my dad and sister learning about my culture,” Priscilla said after dancing along with the Gule Wamkulu.
For Mercy, watching the “thrilling and creative” dances by the Gule Wamkulu evoked the need to appreciate the country’s rich culture and “to think about the past and appreciate the present”.

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