• September 26, 2022 8:14 pm

Chakwera says cultural tourism catalyst for national development

Aug 13, 2022

Malawi President Dr Lazarus Chakwera says cultural tourism can be a catalyst for national development of the country. Addressing a mammoth crowd gathered at this year’s Umtheto Cultural celebrations in Mzimba, Chakwera commended Paramount Chief MMbelwa the Fifth for working hard to preserve the Ngoni Culture.

He said: “We must celebrate our culture, own it, dance it, sing it, speak it, teach it, wear it, paint it, sculpt it, cook it, and memorialize it, so that the social values it teaches us may be preserved and passed on to the next generation. Secondly, our cultural diversity enriches our country economically.

“There are entire industries we must aspire to build around the production of our cultural clothes, the cooking of our cultural foods, the teaching of our cultural languages, and the presentation of our cultural dances. Additionally, there is no reason why colourful and well-organize cultural events like this cannot be promoted worldwide as a tourist attraction to boost this country’s economy.”

President Chakwera said when people travel from all over the world to go to one nation to watch Pele kick a ball in a stadium, or to watch Michael Jackson perform on stage, they were spending all that money just to enjoy someone else’s culture.

He said similarly, every cultural festival in this country is potentially a forex generating tourist attraction waiting to be offered to the world for its appreciation and enjoyment.

“It is therefore my expectation that the Minister of Tourism and Culture will work with all cultural groups in the country in developing a mechanism to make this vision a reality. In fact, the Minister responsible for Culture may wish to know that the Minister of National Unity has developed a concept for a Day of National Unity.

“But as far as I am concerned, that concept will not be complete until the two Ministries work together on refining the concept to ensure that any proposed Day of National Unity is not an obliteration of our cultural diversity, but a celebration of them in a way that can be promoted for the enjoyment of the whole world,” said Chakwera.

He said the experience at Ngoni cultural festival is a glimpse of what is possible on such a Day of National Unity.

Chakwera added: “Here we have Paramount Chiefs and traditional leaders from different parts of Malawi, political leaders of different parties in Malawi, all coming together under one flag to celebrate a piece of Malawian culture. So if we succeed in having a Day of National Unity where we can come together like this to celebrate every piece of Malawian culture, what a great tourist attraction with multiple economic benefits that would be!

“Thirdly, our cultural diversity enriches our country institutionally. When we incorporate in our governance institutions members of different cultural groups in our country, it makes our institutions stronger.”

In his speech, Inkosi Mmbelwa commended Malawi President for showing commitment in preserving culture.

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