SOUTHERN Province Minister Edify Hamukale has described the gutting of a restaurant as well as a bar and an open air Hall of Maramba Cultural Village on Saturday in Livingstone as a big loss to the nation.
The Village, which offers traditional dances every weekend as well as on public holidays among other cultural and tourism activities, was set up in 2013 in readiness for the 20th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly in Livingstone, was constructed by China’s Chao Chao Construction Limited at a cost of K 4.1 million.
However, a multi-purpose theatre and other facilities did not catch fire.
It is alleged that the fire was caused by unidentified Livingstone based Zambia National Dance Troupe member who was warming a drum during their usual weekend performances on Saturday.
Dr Hamukale said in an interview yesterday that it was sad to note that part of the Village was destroyed fire.
“First of all, that village is not only an important cultural village to Livingstone but to the entire country as it is a reservoir of a number of artefacts which are of significant cultural value to the country.
“So it is a big loss to the country and Livingstone which is Zambia’s tourist capital,” Dr Hamukale said.
The Provincial Minister was however not pleased at the fact that Maramba Cultural Village management did not have fire extinguishers.
“We are not too pleased with their preparedness for disaster. So we expect once the incident is over and repair activity is done, they have to put measures in place such as fire extinguishers and get ready for such eventuality.
“Alertness and preparedness was not from management. They were simply not on top of things,” he said.
Dr Hamukale said he would work with his Colleagues in the Ministry of Tourism and Art to come up with Bill of Quantities (BOQ) to rebuild the village.
“We are getting towards the year and we can’t guarantee that the rebuilding will be budgeted as it was not foreseen.
“We will however find supplement funding to rebuild the village because it is an important village,” Dr Hamukale said.
Southern Province Arts and Cultural Affairs Officer James Zimba could not be reached for a comment.