Thousands of people from Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique gathered at Mkaika Chewa headquarters in Katete, Zambia on Saturday, to pay homage to Chewa Chief, Kalonga Gawa Undi at the annual Kulamba traditional Ceremony.
The ceremony aims at among other things celebrating the chewa culture through chewa rites and traditional dances.
Speaking on behalf of the Malawi government, Minister for Civic Education, Community Development And Culture, Cecilia Chazama said the Kulamba ceremony has promoted identity of the Chewas in the three countries.
"Malawi government attaches great importance to Kulamba ceremony because it helps in the preservation and promotion of culture in the country," she added.
She said the cultural exchange visits between the chewas of the three countries has also helped instill discipline in the youths.
Chazama applauded the Kalonga Gawa Undi, King of the Chewa people, for discouraging harmful cultural practices such as wife inheritance (Chokolo) and fisi in a bid to prevent the spread of HIV and Aids.
"This is in line with the government of Malawi's stance of eliminating all undesirable cultural practices which are not productive to the society," she said.
She also said government commends the Chewa chief for encouraging girls' education and discouraging early marriages as one of the tools for development.
In her speech, Zambian acting president, Inonge Wina said the traditional Kulamba has helped unify the three countries which is in line with regional integration and demonstrates cultural freedom.
"Every year the kulamba Ceremony has brought people of the three countries to interact with one another and celebrate their heritage," she said.
Wina said the Zambian government would continue supporting the Kulamba ceremony.
Speaking through a representative, Kalonga Gawa Undi hailed the Chewa people of the three countries for gathering at the Mkaika headquarters every year to celebrate their culture.
"While we are celebrating our culture, we should ensure that we send our children to school especially girls to ensure that they are educated," he said.
"Let us remain united as Chewa people and move in harmony with other tribes and take Gule wamkulu as cultural practice not religion," he advised.
The ceremony was attended by a cross section of people from Malawi led by Chewa chief Lukwa of Kasungu and other chiefs from Malawi notably Lomwe Paramount Chief Ngongoliwa, Yao Senior Chief Kawinga of Machinga and Inkosi Mtwalo from Mzimba.
The ceremony was also attended by Minister of Gender, children and social welfare, Jean Kalirani and Leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera and other political leaders.