Solwezi Today

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Reliving Kaonde people’s Kufukwila ceremony…

Published on May 24 2012 // Traditional Cerermonies

Pomp and splendour overwhelmed Senior Chief Mukumbi of the Kaonde-speaking people of North Western Province as the visitors descended on his palace, beating drums, singing, dancing and ululating.
It was such an enthusing moment as the annual traditional ceremony, Kufukwila, reached its climax on May 21. The locals took turns in wriggling their bodies in tandem with the captivating tunes that were being unleashed continuously while all the travelling guests sat relaxed under the entertaining atmosphere.
Although the scorching sunshine could not have been too friendly, it did not deter the locals from showing their visitors just how the Kaondes do it in style whenever they gather to retrace their roots from the present day Democratic Republic of Congo to their current hub in North-Western Province.
As the happenings of the day became more engrossing and enticing, many visitors failed to remain glued to their comfortable seats and started springing up one after the other to also join in and demonstrate their style of dancing antics in their own form.
It did not matter where one hailed from; the main arena was turned into a hive of activity as all those who were in a dancing mood descended on the showground like mist.  And it went on just like that till the dancing style from the locals became more technical and definitive.
But even when the locals displayed proper and well-defined dancing styles of Shonongo, many visitors were merely adding to the excitement and in the end anything went though without criticism. After all that is what inter-cultural interactions are all about!
What matters by the end of the day is the fact that one is able to shake their body in some fashion – including the most laughable chaotic fidgeting that goes worlds apart with the tunes and rhythms.
And it was not only the Shonongo dance that lost many visiting dancers; there was also Katembo, Manchacha and Kapoyo.
It was indeed quite some entertainment feat offered for the people who turned up in great numbers to celebrate the Kufukwila annual traditional ceremony hosted by Senior Chief Mukumbi Ibaloli XV.
The entertainment was unveiled after the formal veneration of ancestors, the programme which took some 20 minutes. After the traditional rituals, the guests who included Adam Wright (Lumwana Mining Company Managing Director) and Brenda Tambatamba (the mining company’s Sustainability Manager), and Teddy Kasonso (Permanent Secretary for Energy and Water Development), joined in a royal walk.
The dignitaries and other sightseers were part of the walk from the palace to the Cultural Village known in Kaonde as Bushakulu before proceeding to the main arena for the official programme. The royal walk is locally called Kipongo.
The Kufukwila traditional ceremony is held annually by the Kaonde people from Senior Chief Mukumbi, who get together to enact their history and heritage and pay homage to the creator through the spiritual thanking of the Almighty God for providing them with good counsel and strength to till the land.
During the official function, Humphrey Mwanza, the former  Member of Parliament for Solwezi West, in delivering the message for North Western Province former Minister Daniel Kalenga, said culture played an important role in any setting as it enabled people to understand their values, customs and beliefs.
He said: “Culture is a treasure, a source of strength and unity. It is, therefore, imperative that we work together to ensure that our cultural heritage is properly preserved for posterity.”
Mwanza pledged the government’s continuous support for traditional ceremonies, saying they upheld the dignity of traditional rulers as custodians of Zambia’s rich cultural heritage.
In addition, “such events should also be used to discuss development challenges and how the government and co-operating partners are addressing issues of agriculture, education, health, shelter and other basic needs,” he said.

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