By Benedict Tembo
Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people celebrated this year’s Nc’wala ceremony with a plea to Government to honour his 40th anniversary on the throne by granting him three wishes.
During the climax of the celebrations in Mtenguleni in Chipata District on Saturday, Paramount Chief Mpezeni requested among other things the declaration of February 5 a national holiday.
Mpezeni requested Government to rename Mwami border post as Singo Mpezeni border post. He also requested that the Great East Road be renamed the Umodzi Highway.
In a speech read on his behalf by Nc’wala national organising chairperson Besty Nkhoma, Chief Mpezeni said Ngoni culture must always be kept alive with the correct records of its history.
He said it is the reason Ngonis want its heroic ancestor Prince Nsingo Mpezeni to be remembered better than is currently the case.
“His bravery in the Anglo -Angoni war from December 1889 to February 1890 cannot be reduced to a few paragraphs in history. I propose that 5th February becomes known as national Nsingo day and be declared a national holiday as this is the first recorded battle for freedom in our country by any leader and a people,” Chief Mpezeni said.
“To signify peace and unity among our people, I am proposing the renaming of the “Great East Road ” from Lusaka to the border here to “Umodzi Highway”. This is because we want that road to demonstrate our desire for unity as people drive to the border, ” the paramount chief said.
Chief Mpezeni urged Ngonis to live in harmony with other tribes of this country and beyond and be quick to reach out in unity, peace and love.
He expressed gratitude to Chieftainess Nawaitwika of the Namwanga people for preserving the burial site of Ngoni great ancestor Inkhosi Zwangendaba Ka Hlatswayo in Nakonde.
“I have been to this site and we appreciate this,” he said.
The event attracted thousands of people who included Government leaders, representatives of political parties, business houses, traditional leaders from within Zambia and their counterparts from Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa.
The country’s first traditional ceremony celebrated to mark the harvest, it mimicked a trade fair as business houses which contributed to the successful staging of the event exhibited their goods and services.