On Wednesday 14th of October 2020, the Alliance Française of Lusaka hosted the Chokwe exhibition, displaying 72 Chokwe masks and artefacts at her fully refurbished premises. This exhibition is part of a great cultural cooperation project between France and Zambia.
This collection, initially owned by M. Marcus Matte, was then purchased by TOTAL Zambia who donated it to the Zambian government through the National Museums Board. Alongside with the cooperation of the Embassy of France in Zambia, StArt Foundation, and the Alliance Française of Lusaka, the project was brought to light. This long process took more than one year – since August 2019 – until the opening night.
Thanks to this generous donation from TOTAL Zambia, the public will be able to learn about the heritage of the Chokwe tribe in the museums of Lusaka and Livingstone, where the artefacts will be exhibited as part of their permanent collections.
To seal this relevant donation, Mr. Ernest Mfula representing TOTAL Zambia as Head of Retail and Digital, Mr. Flexon Mizinga Director General of the National Museums Board and HE Mr. Sylvain Berger Ambassador of France in Zambia signed the official handover contract in front of public and press on the very same 14th of October 2020.
Before sending the collection to the museums, an exhibition will take place at the Alliance Française of Lusaka until November 6th 2020. Entrance will be free, and visitors will be able to come all day long. The donation will be effective after this exhibition has ended.
The Chokwe tribe, native to the North Western parts of Zambia, is one that holds a fascinating and rich history. The dance and music performance that the audience got to enjoy at this event was deeply rooted in the respect of tribal traditions. Ancient spirits known as the Makishi were represented in the masked dancers, as well as in ritual dances and ceremonies in the past.
This legacy can now be admired by the public, in the masks, tablets and other artefacts forming this unique collection.
All in all, it is important to emphasize on the fact that the sole purpose of this whole collective project is to preserve indigenous heritages in Zambia and inspire more initiatives like “The Mystical Chokwe Exhibition” to perpetuate and showcase the marvellous legacy of the Zambian culture.