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Imbongi enchant Mphoko

by Bongani Ndlovu
24 May 2016 at 07:08hrs | Views
PRAISE poets (imbongi) captivated the heart of Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko as they stole the show when he officially opened the National Culture Week celebrations on Saturday at Godlwayo Cultural Centre in Avoca, Matabeleland South province.

imbongi were led by Lerato "Ngqindi" Ndlovu, Albert Nyathi and Simayedwa Khumalo.

imbongi performed during the chiefs' procession before the VP's speech. VP Mphoko took the opportunity to share his totem with the scores of people gathered.

"AbakoMphoko ongogo zabantu, omahlavukazi, esadlula emaninini zadikiza iz'bumbu. Nxa ngikukhangele so kuthi diki diki," said VP Mphoko.

"Isizwe esingela masiko kasiso sizwe. Ngijabule kakhulu ngibona lamhlanje ukuthi zithe zingena izinduna zakithi zabongwa ngamaxhiba, zabongwa ngezangelo zabo, ngazawa umzimba wami uhlasimuka. ("A country without culture is not one. I was glad upon seeing the chiefs' procession; they were being praised by imbongi. I felt ecstatic,") said VP Mphoko.

Before the VP's address a praise poet Simayedwa Khumalo recited a poem bemoaning shunning of culture by Zimbabweans.

VP Mphoko was enthused by her performance that he called on director of culture in the ministry of Education Reverend Paul Damasane who was master of ceremony, to co-opt her in educating children.

VP Mphoko was dressed for the occasion as he wore a navy blue suit, with a leopard skin cape and matching head gear complete with walking stick.

During the chief's procession the imbongi took turns to outwit each other with superlatives for the various chiefs that would enter the arena.

Each chief was accompanied by his villagers while imbongi gave praise by reciting their totems.

However it was host chief Vezi Maduna who stole the show when he entered the arena accompanied by a "regiment" engaged in stick fighting much to the delight of invited guests.

The men's skills with the sticks was captivating as they parried blows from opponents, feinting in one direction and striking in another, breaking away from an opponent with quick footwork.

They were not pulling back with their blows with each sending a loud crack as their sticks struck each other to defend their positions.

As all this was going on Ngqindi praised Chief Maduna with his totems.

"EMafu enkonjeni, emathayi, emawandla, enzakala, edambisamahubo, emzila kawulandelwa, ungawulandela uyazibambelela, ekhokhozela njengenqina lisiya edlomodlomo, eVezi Ozivezayo," praised Ngqindi.

Some in the crowd felt the same like the VP, with others trying their hardest to remember their own totems.

Another major highlight were school children from Zezani in Beitbridge who performed a Venda dance that required them to be given some token of money to leave the stage and the VP stood from his seat to appease the young girls.

Senator Tambudzani Mohadi, the Beitbridge Senator also supported the young girls by lying down on the dusty ground in typical Venda fashion as they waited to be appeased of which the VP obliged.

VP Mphoko toured stalls of various traditional products such as baskets, food, side chairs and stools. National Gallery of Zimbabwe and Amagugu International Heritage Centre also exhibited their products at the celebrations.

Traditional foods such as cooked beef, offals, goat meat, isitshwala among other things were served.

Black Umfolosi also serenaded the crowd with their melodious acapella voices with Jeys Marabini, a favourite of chief Maduna, wrapping up an eventful day.

The event kick-started a week-long launch with Mashonaland Central expected to launch theirs today at Tendai Hall in Bindura, the launch in Mashonaland East will be at Marondera High School and in Harare it will be at Long Cheng Plaza tomorrow. Midlands, celebrations will be at Gonawapotera Secondary School on Thursday and the Bulawayo launch will be at Nkulumane Hall on Friday, Matabeleland North's launch will be in Tsholotsho at Giraya Dam, in Masvingo the launch will be at Danhamombe High School while in Manicaland the launch will be in Mutare at Mount Mapende.

On Saturday Matabeleland South will launch the week in Umzingwane District at Nswazi Cultural Centre and in Mashonaland West the launch will be in Hurungwe at Chiedza Primary School on June 3 .

Source - chronicle