People and Culture

Eastern Province has a number of ethnic groups which are in each district. Sometimes each district may have two or three ethnic groups-(tribes). These tribes are rich in culture and proverbs. The proverbs are rich and useful in the sense that they enable people to talk about some secret issues without young ones or an alien to apprehend what they are talking about.

The Province has major Traditional ceremonies celebrated every year. these are listed below;

Kulamba Ceremony

The ceremony is held in August at Mkaika in Katete District. The ceremony, held after harvest in late August, is a way of bringing together different Che-wa Chiefs from different Countries to present their reports of griev-ances to Paramount Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi. The name Kalonga means the one who in-stalls subordinate Chiefs. Gawa is the one who gives out land and Undi means the one who pro-tects the subordinates. The Kalonga Gawa Undi is head of all the Chewa Chiefdoms and takes care of all the installations of chiefs not only in Zambia but in Malawi and Mozambique as well.

The ceremony was banned by the colonial masters in 1934 but Paramount Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi Chivunga revived the Ceremony in 1984. Since then it has been an annual event. On the day of the ceremony, the center of attraction is the main arena where all the dignitaries are seated. The entrance of Paramount Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi into the arena signifies the start of the ceremony. Visitors from Zambia and Che-was from neighboring Malawi and Mozambique are entertained to a variery of dances that are from three countries. The Nyau dance (Gule Wamkulu) was offi-cially recognized by UNESCO in 2006.

Nc’wala Traditional ceremony

The Nc’wala is a thanksgiving ceremony held every year at Mtenguleni village. This ceremony gives thanks for the first harvests of the season. This ritual ceremony has been passed on to current generations by Ngoni ancestors who originated from old Zulu culture. Interest-ingly during colonialism the Nc’wala ceremony was banned for being too war like. It was revived after independence in 1980. When the first fruits are taken to the Chief he addresses the crowd and is received with a roar of appreciation. The chief leads in his leopard skin outfit and he seens to have set a trend as many people wear animal skin of some sort. The Chief pro-ceeds to taste the first fruits such as millet, pumpkin, sugar cane and maize. Women ululate and sing songs of praise to the Chief, God and ancestors as the Chief blesses the fruit. The ceremony involves a black bull which is speared and the Chief must drink of its blood.

Then a journey begins between the Chief’s palace and Mtenguleni where the main ceremonial activities take place. Today the chief travels the 100 or so kilometres in a slow moving motorcade so the people can see their Chief, whereas in the past this journey was made on foot over a period of days. Crowds throng and there are bicycles, blue taxis, ox carts, cars, pick ups and buses packed with singing public.

The Nc’wala is a series of complex rituals, enactments and stories relating to the Chiefs power, crop protec-tion, thanks giving as well as aspects of birth, child-hood, puberty, adulthood, death and rebirth. This is rich culture that visitors are welcome to take part in.

By Sylvester Chishimba
Mpezeni celebrates 38th Anniversary reign
Chipata,November 21, 2020….ZANIS—Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people in Eastern Province has celebrated 38th anniversary reign on the throne.

The Catholic Diocese of Chipata conducted a special mass to honour the Ngoni Chief on his 38th uninterrupted reign on the throne.
And President Edgar Lungu, who was represented at the celebration housing and infrastructure minister Vincent Mwale, said Government recognises the effective role Paramount Chief Mpezeni plays in fostering peace in the country.
The President said Paramount Chief Mpezeni is a lover of peace as exhibited through his working with other chiefs to ensure that peace prevails in Zambia.
Dr Lungu is pleased that Paramount Chief Mpezeni has had cordial working relationship with all the past presidents in office before him.
“Your love for peace has help Zambians to continue living in unity.This country is developing because of your contribution. May God continue being with you always,” President Lungu said.
The head of state also hailed the Ngoni Chief for the role he continues to play in ending child marriages in his chiefdom and Eastern Province as a whole.
President Lungu further commended Chief Mpezeni for the active role the traditional ruler continues to play in agriculture production.
And earlier in a sermon, Bishop Lungu said 38 years celebrations of Paramount Chief Mpezeni over the Ngoni tribe is one that gathered many people from all over Zambia because of the love he has for the people.
Conducting mass for the Paramount Chief Mpezeni, who is a Catholic menber, Bishop Lungu said spending 38 years on the throne shows God’s love upon Mpezeni.
“Spending 38 years on the throne is not a mean achievement, this calls for everyone to celebrate with Paramount Chief Mpezeni as his children,” he said.
Celebrations to honour the 38th anniversary reign of Paramount Chief Mpezeni on the throne were held today at the Emphendukeni Palace in Chipata district.
And Paramount Chief Mpezeni, who spoke through Chief Gogo Madzimawe, appealed to all traditional rulers to encourage everyone in the country to practice peace and live in unity.
The Paramount Chief also commended President Lungu and his Government for bringing development to his chiefdom.
He said Government has brought alot of development adding that its work is visible and being appreciated by the people.
Paramount chief Mpezeni also urged people in his Chiefdom and Eastern Province as a whole to register as voters in order for them to vote for representatives in 2021 general elections.
He urged politicians not to lie to the people during campaigns but rather be honest at all times.
And one of Paramount Chief Mpezeni’s subjects Zindaba Soko commended the traditional ruler for ruling his chiefdom peacefully for 38 years.
Mr Soko said he is inspired greatly by Paramount chief Mpezeni as a Ngoni adding that he is using the promotion of peace in his campaign.
Mr Soko urged all politicians and other traditional leaders to emulate Paramount chief Mpezeni for his love for peace.
Others present during the anniversary celebratiobs were Eastern Province Deputy Permanent Secretary Josphat Lombe, Luangeni Member of Parliament Charles Zulu, Ngoni traditional leaders and various government officials.