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First Lady's food and culture festival commendable

by Gift Mashoko
27 May 2019 at 15:16hrs | Views
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa's relentless efforts to preserve our Zimbabwean culture through the introduction of the Food and Culture Festival is highly commendable.

The festival, which is her brain child, is the first of its kind in the country, and probably the Southern region.

According to Amai Mnangagwa the festival will bridge the gap between the old and the young, suggesting that it should be an annual event which embraces and espouses the cultural diversity that unites the people.

Zimbabweans are battling with moral decadence, which is spawning an identity crisis, particularly among youths. The festival comes at an opportune time to tame cultural erosion.

Through the festival, people will see the importance of their culture and take pride in it. People will benefit a lot from this festival as diverse cultures come together to showcase their cultural activities and beliefs.

Whilst officially launching the festival on Friday last week, the First Lady called upon Zimbabweans to embrace and preserve their culture by taking pride in their vernacular languages.

"Festivals do contribute to global cultural and economic development and it is my hope that through the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority it will drive economic development, national building and cultural tourism enhancement," she said.

Present among non-local exhibitors during the festival were the Chinese, Algerians and Indonesians. Acting Dean of African Diplomats and Algerian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Nacerdine Sai, during his key note address appreciated the First Lady's initiative, highlighting that since it was being planned to be an annual event they would support it.

Ambassador Sai said, "when we talk about festivals, it is a kind of celebration and a celebration in diversity and morality. Indeed, the link and relationship between food and culture is very strong."

"Zimbabwe is rich with its variety of culture and different types of food, and today we see people coming from different provinces sharing food from many parts of Zimbabwe: mutakura from Murehwa, madora from Mt Darwin, nhopi from Masvingo, sadza from Harare and many other dishes," he said.

He highlighted that festivals unite people locally, the region and indeed the world. He indicated that the festival would promote tourism.

Sai's observation that Zimbabwe has a vast array of traditional foods that are highly nutritional, while our traditional artefacts are on demand in Africa, and the world over.

The festival will bridge the gap between the young and the old, with the latter teaching the former on our traditional ways of living which include traditional dancing, traditional foods and traditional artefacts, as well as how to preserve our culture for posterity.

The festival also provides the young generations with opportunities to showcase their businesses on traditional artefacts as was the case during the festival. Exhibitors showcased various artistry which included sculpturing, weaving, beading, and traditional foods, among others. Various traditional dance groups also showcased their dancing skills.

Knowing that our traditional artefacts are marketable in the western world, making traditional artefacts and selling them to the west will surely bring in the much needed foreign currency Zimbabwe needs and of course creating employment for people who make these artefacts.   

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on 18 May 2019 officially opened the culture week which ran from 18 to 25 May 2019 under the theme ‘The African Royalty - Our Heritage'.

Culture week is a national arts and culture festival to celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development proclaimed by UNESCO. The launch marks the beginning of the celebration of the importance of cultural diversity throughout the country through various cultural and artistic expressions.

Source - Gift Mashoko