The government has embarked on a program aimed at safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage of people of various ethnic groups in Zambia.
Chembe District Cultural Officer Maggie Chirwa explains that the department of Culture and Traditional Affairs under the Ministry of Tourism is currently documenting all intangible cultural heritage in the country which are said to be slowly phasing out.
Ms Chirwa says this follows the resolution by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) member states during the 2003 Convention which recommended the preservation of cultural heritage.
Ms Chirwa further revealed to ZANIS in Chembe that Zambia has identified six elements that it has listed under UNESCO for preservation and safeguarding which includes the Gule Wamkulu of the Chewa people in Eastern Province, Makishi Dance of the Luvale people in Northwestern Province and Moba Dance of the Lenje people in Central Province.
“We have other dances which are to be preserved such as Budima of the Tonga people in Southern Province and Kalela Dance in Luapula Province and right now we are working towards safeguarding our indigenous foods such as Munkoyo and Chikanda in Chembe District,” Ms Chirwa explained.
Ms Chirwa who was in the company of officers from the department of Culture and Traditional Affairs that was led by the Deputy Director Evaristo Makwaya visited Myelemyele Women Chikanda Club in Mutwale village in Mushingwa Ward where the women demonstrated the production of Chikanda using both traditional ingredients such as ifshikisa and conventional ingredients such as soda.
And Myelemyele Women’s Chikanda Club member Shaclina Mwewa explained that Chikanda business has been sustaining the club members who are able to fend for their families for many years.
“This economic activity we do as a club has been passed on to us from our forefathers and we intend to pass it on to the younger generation as well so that the making of Chikanda will continue to exist even at household level for future generations,” Ms Mwewa revealed.
Earlier Mushingwa Ward Councillor Micheal Chisenga expressed gratitude at the delegation that visited his ward saying the move is motivating to the people in the area.
“We have a number of women clubs that have ventured into chikanda business here in Chembe but I would like to encourage more clubs and groups to come on board so that further steps can be taken on value addition and branding for the Chikanda so that it can be sold at national or international level,” Mr Chisenga said.
Chembe has for a long time been known for its taste Chikanda to travelers passing through the border town via the pedicle road.