Seven LUANAR students discover a heritage site. A visit to Nsembe tradition
Seven Luanar students participate in 2016 GoUNESCO World Heritage Day by Abel Mkulama
A few kilometers away from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bunda Campus in Malawi lies a heritage site called Nsembe at bottom of Bunda mountain. Seven students from department of environmental sciences at the university organized a walk to appreciate this closest cultural site as part of the 2016 World Heritage Day which was commemorated under the hash tag #makeheritagefun.
Nsembe heritage site in Malawi is located in Chilowa village and is a sacred for the indigenous because it is used yearly for offering sacrifices to God for adequate rain. In the past, the event used to involve human sacrifices in which a child was killed if there was a drought. Today the practice has been abolished and involves chiefs from the surrounding villages who come together in July to give thanks to God for abundant harvest.
The place is also important for indigenous fire management, during the event, the sacred place is cleared to prevent is from burning when fires are set. Fires are set firstly, to keep away wild animals such as Hyenas and snakes as far away from the houses and secondly, to manage vegetation that grow in the fields and finally for hunting mbewa (rats).
The site is not owned by anyone, surrounding farmers keep a wide berth from the site to conserve what has been respected in their village since time in memorial.
GoUNESCO promotes world cultural heritage by involving GoUNESCO Heritage Ambassadors who are mostly students from various Universities across the Globe. The seven students will also have also an opportunity to work in a six months’ internship with the organization to promote cultural heritage in Malawi, promote tourism and most importantly, make heritage a fun experience.
This article will also be published in the local newspaper, The Nation. www.mwnation.mw
A cultural heritage asset