Bhekumuzi Ncube, Sunday Life Reporter
THOUSANDS of people thronged Luswingo Heritage Site in Bulilima, Matabeleland South province to celebrate the growth of indigenous culture at the Luswingo Festival that featured Botswana and Tsholotsho artistes last week.
The festival is part of various activities by Kalanga Language and Cultural Development Association (KLCDA) to develop and promote the growth of the Kalanga language.
Treasurer of KLCDA, Thamani Nleya said he was taken aback by the turnout.
“The festival was by far better than the previous edition. This year’s edition was well attended. Some people drove all the way from Botswana to support the festival. One of the key aims of the festival was to revive the importance of indigenous languages and the relationship of Botswana and Zimbabwe in promoting traditional culture,” he said.
Nleya said it was important that people preserve culture.
“I am very happy that people still celebrate culture. People should be determined to learn more history about their traditional background, and also value their native languages,” he said.
Despite the success of this year’s edition, Nleya said they were facing financial challenges in maintaining Luswingo Heritage Site.
“Luswingo site is a beautiful resort for people to relax, rest and enjoy themselves, but some of the its amazing features need maintenance which is very costly. It will be great if promoters and big companies support cultural sites by assisting financially to maintain the site which is fast becoming an international tourist attraction,” he said.
Botswana artistes, Ndingo Johwa and Bana Bebana Bantogwa, gave show stopper performances that kept people on their feet, while others found themselves dancing to the traditional drums.
The legendary Black Umfolosi lightened the festival with their sweet Imbube music which reminded people of the old days.
Local traditional groups, Inqama Yophondo and Tsholotsho Dance Group received a standing ovation as performers bended their bodies with incredible flexibility that left people stunned.
The festival ran under theme “Lulimi gwedu, Milenje yedu, Buhe gwedu” which means “Our language, cultural norms, our heritage”.
The festival showcased different traditional activities which were well received by people; these included Lubahhe Workshops, mayedziso, music and dance, poetry, High School Kalanga Debate Contest, Traditional food shows and sales, books, CDs and cultural artefacts, as well as a guided tour of the Luswingo Heritage Site.