Monday, September 28, 2009

Lusata Cultural Festival

Every year on the last Saturday in September is the Lusata Cultural Festival in Chinchimane. It is a celebration honoring the Litunga of the Mafwe people, Chief George Simasiku Mamili VII. We travel about an hour from Katima early in the morning and made our way to the Mafwe Royal Establisment venue.

We were invited to this event by Elton’s grandpa Fred. He is a very respected elder in our community and provided the opening prayer for the ceremony. We were seated alongside Grandpa Fred under a long thatched roof. We had front row seats to where the events were taking place. I was shocked at the number of people that kept arriving by the truckload. I was pleasantly surprised that Becca and I weren’t the only white people there (although the other people were clearly tourists).

It was a day filled with watching cultural dances, drum players, the ceremony to welcome the chief, the procession of the Lusata (the royal mace) and many speeches. I wish I could have captured how people were so colorfully dressed. There was quite a range from reed shirts, to full traditional dress, to men in skirts, and the regal clothes of the Chief himself. We ended up leaving around 3pm but it was clear the party was just getting started. My biggest disappointment is that I had heard that they butcher a ton of game such as elephant, giraffe, warthog, hippo, crocodile, etc. for these kinds of events. But if they were serving that meat somewhere I missed it. I really wanted to get a taste of elephant. Oh well… there is always next year, right?

It was a very interesting day for me to get a look into my husband’s cultural background. After attending this event I came home and googled it. I found very little information, but I did find this one article I found to be interesting.

There is also a Museum of the Mafwe people not too far from Katima.

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