By Carren Mumba and Joel Chirwa
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa said on Saturday culture plays an important role in the promotion of tourism, thereby contributing towards the country’s economic development.
Nankhumwa was speaking during the Gonapamuhanya Tumbuka Cultural Festival at Bolero in Rumphi District where he represented the President Prof. Peter Mutharika.
He said Malawians of different tribes need to propagate and highlight cultural values, especially those that are unique to the country.
Nankhumwa said some countries have managed to boost their tourism industries through marketing of cultural heritages.
“Tourism in some countries is at an advanced level and we need to borrow the leaf from these countries by utilizing our cultural heritage in boosting the country’s tourism industry.
The president always says that the community without cultural values is like a tree without roots, hence the need for Malawians to conserve and promote their cultural values,” said Nankhumwa.
He said besides providing human identity, culture unifies people.
“Cultural festivals bring together people from all walks of life regardless of their political and religious and cultural affiliations. This is the sole reason that State President, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika encourages Malawians to be holding these festivals,” said Nankhumwa.
The minister then condemned acts of violence that took place at a similar festival last year where followers of different political parties were involved in running battles.
“This did not please the President regardless of who masterminded those acts of violence and he is calling upon Malawians to coexist to ensure that there is always peace and unity in the country,” he said.
The minister also advised traditional leaders to be in the forefront in promoting girls’ education as one way of curbing early marriages.
“Women constitute a large per cent of the country’s population, as such, there is need to deal with all cultural practices which force girls to drop out of school and fuel the spread of HIV and AIDS.
Government is striving to create conducive environment for girls to remain in school by constructing more schools and girls’ hostels,” he said.
Earlier, Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe thanked President Mutharika for contributing K1 million towards the cultural festival.