By Kondwani Magombo
The newly launched tribal grouping, Chiwanja Cha a Yao has said it is set to promote progressive cultural practices among people of Yao background in the country in keeping with modern trends and government policies.
National Chairperson for the grouping, Mac Kennedy Abdul Aziz Yasin made the commitment on Sunday at M’manga Primary School ground in Balaka during the launch of Chiwanja Cha a Yao which was established a decade ago.
Yasin said much as it is very important to preserve culture because it identifies a particular society, some cultural practices that have overstayed their relevancy ought to be either abandoned or modified to suit the present world.
“Even the Word of God challenges us as to whether we will continue preserving and entertaining cultural practices that are bad just because we inherited them from our ancestors,” Yasin observed.
“So, as Chiwanja Cha a Yao, we will ensure that we only promote cultural practices that are not harmful and we will abandon or modernize those that are in conflict with the present situation in our society,” he added.
Yasin cited Nyanda or Liwondo, an ancient type of clothing that only hid nakedness leaving the rest of the body uncovered, saying putting on such clothing in its original design today without modernizing it would not work.
On the newly launched grouping, Yasin said Chiwanja Cha a Yao should not be viewed as a religious or political body but rather as a structure meant to bring all the Yaos together in the country in pursuit of preservation of culture.
“Chiwanja Cha a Yao was set up with the guidance from both Christians and Muslim leaders in the country because we know that there are two religions among the Yaos; Islam and Christianity,” said Yasin.
“It should be understood, therefore, that Chiwanja Cha a Yao does not belong to one particular religion, it belongs to all Yaos across the country regardless of whether they are Christians or Muslims,” he emphasized.
Yao Paramount Chief Kawinga concurred with Yasin, saying time had come for the Yaos never to be regarded as illiterate because of high rates of school dropout and early marriages.
Kawinga said as Yao people, they would want to see their children going through all the corridors of education to universities and contributing to the development of the country.
President Professor Peter Mutharika graced the occasion with calls for Malawians to unite to end harmful cultural practices, early marriages and brutal killing of people with albinism.
“Cultural and tribal groupings of this nature should help government in contributing to national development,” he said. “Furthermore, no one should be cheated that they will get rich because they have killed a person with albinism.”
By Kondwani Magombo