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West heritage unique, says Pwete

ELIZABETH CHATUVELA, Mongu
PERMANENT secretary in the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Michael Pwete says Western Province has a unique heritage which needs to be preserved.
And the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) says the Kuomboka ceremony will next year return to Mongu after a two-year lull.
Speaking at the official opening of the National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC) office here, Mr Pwete says the province has a unique history as the BRE and the people are effectively involved in the conservation and management of cultural and national heritage resources in the region.
He said the opening of the NHCC office in Mongu has come at a right time as the commission has over the years identified and documented numerous cultural and national heritage resources in the entire province.
“I note for instance, that for many centuries, the BRE and the people of Western Province have been involved in the preservation of the royal burial sites, the historical canals and the village mounds in the Barotse plains. This is commendable,” he said.
Mr Pwete also said the proposed inscription of the Barotse plains to the World Heritage list is yielding positive results.
“I know the process is a long one but we ought to endure so that what you started is finalised. Recently, whilst in Paris attending the general conference of UNESCO, I was privileged to have a meeting with the African Union and the question concerning the Barotse Plains Cultural Landscape was raised. Therefore, let’s remain focused until we see the plains on the World Heritage list,’’ Mr Pwete said.
NHCC executive director Collins Chipote thanked the provincial administration for the support rendered during the renovation of the office which cost K300,000.
On the Kuomboka ceremony, Induna Katema, whose real names are Crispin Mowazambwe, said BRE has already started putting logistics in place to ensure that the ceremony, which is one of the biggest in the country, is held.
Katema, who is also the chairman-general of the ceremony, said they [BRE] are excited to host the ceremony next year.
The Kuomboka, which is celebrated by the Lozi people of Western Province, was last held in 2013.
In 2014, it could not take place due to low water levels in the Zambezi plains while in 2015, the event was cancelled as the Lozi were still mourning the wife of Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II.
“I want to break this good news to the people of Mongu and everyone else that the Kuomboka ceremony will return next year after a long time of absence. We are very excited about this development and as we are also craving for it,’’ he said.
And Katema said the BRE will work closely with NHCC to document necessary information on the Barotse plains and other heritage sites.
He appealed to Government to consider Kanyonyo Primary School as one of the heritage sites.

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