29 April 2003

Malawians Take a Leaf From Zulus And Publicly Display Tribal War Dances

Lilongwe, Malawi — Malawian villagers have begun emulating their Zulu cousins by holding public displays of their tribal war dances.

The Nkhata Bay and Mzimba villagers are Ngoni people who fled the fearsome South African Zulu king Shaka almost 200 years ago and are therefore distantly related to the Zulu people and to Zimbabwe's Matebele.

The Ngoni maintain close links with Zulu relatives, but have not previously tried to make money from tourists by demonstrating their cultural life.

American Peace Corps volunteer Colleen Harrington has changed that with the help of Nkhata Bay entrepreneur Davie Ngwira.

The two have already organised successful dances for tourists, and are also introducing more walking tours led by villagers who tell local stories.

"We plan for tourists to climb beautiful mountains like Jenjewe in Mzimba district and afterwards be entertained by Ngoni dances performed by indigenous people," said Harrington.

Fees raised will be ploughed back into the community. - ECN-African Eye News Service

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