Celebrating Zambia’s rich cultural heritage

THE Lusaka based Soli Cultural Association. Right, Mukanzubo Cultural Group from Southern Province. PICTURES: MUTELO YUYI

FOR the third year running, entertainment-starved Lusaka residents are in for a big spectacle with the hosting of the much-anticipated Pamodzi Carnival which is Zambia’s premier cultural tourism event on August 18.Launched by President Edgar Lungu on October 17, 2015; the extravaganza will be characterised by the rich cultural heritage through dance and music, abundant traditional foods and beverages; and handicrafts from the nation’s 10 provinces.
The 2018 carnival, designed to be a magnificent cultural event, will open up participation from international groups with representation in Zambia. The event will include a section of the traditional foods (festival) where highly nutritious Zambian foods and drinks will be offered for sale and immediate consumption.
There will be handicraft exhibitions at shopping malls around Lusaka and in the showgrounds on the actual day. Two pre-marketing processions have been added to the traditional, one from the starting point to the main arena in the showgrounds as a way to make the event be owned by the local communities around the Zambian capital city.
Route ‘A’ will cover Lusaka’s eastern part, while route ‘B’ will cover the western part of Lusaka on Thursday, August 16, 2018.
The event on Saturday, August 18, will start from Woodlands B Primary School in Lusaka into Chilimbulu Road through Chilenje, Libala and Kabwata up to Kabwata Cultural Village.
From Kabwata Cultural Village, the floats will move along Burma Road, to join Independence Avenue near the mosque, through Cairo Road up to Kabwe Roundabout before turning into Great East Road.
At Engen Filling Station, the procession will turn left on Makishi Road and proceed to Garden Township into Katima Mulilo Road all the way to the main arena in the Showgrounds as the final destination.
All traditions and performances will be represented in Zambian colours in the cultural diversity reaffirming a unique national identity that presents a rare spectacle to the country which has 73 ethnic tribes, and making it Africa’s fast becoming major cultural tourism destination of choice.
Premised on the National Tourism Policy whose vision is to “make Zambia an exciting and growing destination that realises its full potential and rewards tourists with unique, authentic and treasured experiences”, the Pamodzi Carnival was introduced as a new tourism product which will offer the country’s experiences to Zambians and visitors.
The carnival will showcase some of Zambia’s best traditional dance repertoires, create unique cultural tourism products for the enjoyment of locals and visitors, provide an opportunity for handicrafts producers from all the provinces to market their products to a big audience, encourage the producers and consumers of Zambia’s healthy traditional foods and beverages, and create an opportunity to enjoy Zambia’s cultural diversity.
“Zambia is also rich in cultural heritage with 73 tribes with diverse cultural traditions which include a variety of annual traditional ceremonies and six museums which are repositories of rich cultural, traditional and historic artefacts”, states the National Tourism Policy.
Zambia is endowed with vast untouched wilderness areas such as Luangwa River’s rift valley, the Zambezi River system and its escarpments; mountain highlands such as the Nyika and Mafinga; vast westlands such as the Bangweulu, the Kafue and Zambezi flood plains and waterfalls.
The country boasts of more than 700 natural and cultural heritage sites which include archaeological, historical, geo-morphological, geological and anthropological sites.
In his book One Zambia, One Nation, One Country, Professor Mwelwa C. Musambachime writes that while the motto ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ is a lovely image of the country’s commitment for a strong country’s identity and pride, it does not reflect the diverse ethnic heritage of Zambia’s tribal cultures that have been passed down through many generations of both hardship and prosperity. There are some 73-officialy recognised ethnic groups in Zambia, and their traditional cultural ceremonies remain very much alive.
The decline of traditional customs and culture has been brought about by the infiltration of western ways and the melting pot of various tribes living in the country. There has been a realisation of the value of traditions, and a conscious effort is being made to preserve them.
“Festivals in Zambia are the ideal occasions for merrymaking in the country. The country of Zambia includes a colourful and diverse culture. You will get a glimpse of the wonderful culture of the region in the festivals in Zambia. The culture of Zambia is of contemporary type that includes a wonderful blend of values and traditions. The Zambian festivals are the major source of entertainment for the local people for the region,” he writes.

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