Editor's Choice Entertainment

Luwi wins Miss Tourism, sparks controversy

CHALI MULENGA, Livingstone
LUWI Kawanda may have impressed the panel of judges on her way to winning the Miss Tourism pageant held at the ZAF Mess in Livingstone last Saturday, but the 22-year-old did not certainly impress some cultural enthusiasts.
In an effort to show her knowledge of the country’s tourism attractions, the final -year student at the University of Zambia, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration and minoring in Development Studies, went for the Makishi masquerade in one of the categories.
The Makishi masquerade has connections to the Mukanda, an initiation ceremony for boys that is conducted by most tribes in the North-Western Province including the Luvale. Makishi mainly refers to the masks and costumes that constitute a character being portrayed. The masks are believed to be a manifestation of the spirits of dead ancestors who return to the world of the living.
It is the mask that landed Luwi, a reigning Miss University Africa Zambia and also a finalist in the Miss Heritage Zambia pageant, into a bit of a problem – she took off the masquerade on stage to explain the meaning behind.
Livingstone Museum director George Mudenda says it is an insult to the people of North-Western Province for a woman to dress in the Makishi because it depicts a spirit.
He says a person who puts on a Makishi masquerade must be initiated into it and it is also prohibited for women to dress or even touch the Makishi or Gule Wa Mkulu.
“It is an insult for a woman to put on the Makishi masquerade, it is a very wrong way of doing things, the Miss Tourism winner should have been disqualified there and then for putting on the Makishi attire,” he says.
“The Gule Wa Mkulu of the Chewa people in Eastern Province and the Makishi in North-Western province are sacred. People that touch even their attire must be initiated into that life. It is unacceptable that a woman was allowed to put the mask on and unmask herself on stage.”
Obviously, the judges did not see it that way and went on to crown her as the Miss Tourism winner over the other 11 contestants.
Mushongo Inonge, 18, was the First Princess with Wendy Manyanga, 23, voted as the Second Princess and Jessica Naluonde as the Miss Personality.
Other contestants were Mary Lombe, 21, Christine Melu, 29, Towela Chindalo, 20, Agness Nyangu, 20, Theresa Mishiba, 27, Monica Bwalya Muchinga, 23, and Mulenga Kasangu, 19.

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