Yvonne Ncube, Showbiz Correspondent
AMAGUGU International Heritage Centre, is planning to hold the first Inkelo Cultural Festival which seeks to showcase diverse cultural traditions while at the same time, documenting historical practices for future generations.
Participants in the two-day cultural exhibition that is set to run from September 23 to 24 this year, will take part in various cultural activities, with the best performers receiving prizes.
In a statement released yesterday, Amagugu, the brainchild of renowned historian Pathisa Nyathi, said the expo could be extended to a week-long event depending on the success of the inaugural event.
“It is our wish and intention to arrange a two-day Amagugu Cultural Expo (ACE) at Amagugu International Heritage Centre situated at Whitewater within the Unesco Matobo World Heritage Site.
Depending on how this inaugural Amagugu Cultural Expo turns out, we intend to hold it over a week to make it a long period of scintillating cultural and artistic extravaganza and even more, if we get corporate, institutional and individual sponsorship,” said Amagugu while sharing their plans to live stream the cultural heritage and arts events.
“The one thrust we wish to pursue is allowing visitors to experience hands-on participatory experiences of the cultural activities available to them during the period. This year’s programme will have a narrow range of arts and cultural offerings over a two-day period.
“Initially, a smaller number of participants will be invited to take part. As the Cultural Expo expands, there will be more participants coming from beyond Zimbabwe,” read the statement.
The Heritage Centre, located 60 kilometres from Bulawayo along a tarred road to Maphisa/Kezi, highlighted that school-going pupils and tertiary students are invited to promote intergenerational transmission of cultural heritage.
“School-going pupils and tertiary students are also invited as they are the generation that will be on the receiving end of the cultural lessons so that there is intergenerational transmission of cultural heritage and the concomitant cultural identity, sense of pride, and development of positive self-image.
“I hope that the event will be followed by documentation in both digital and print forms. This should serve as invaluable memories of the event and allow for both growth and development.
The memories will be deposited with the National Archives of Zimbabwe and possibly a university to be identified that excels in culture, heritage, and the arts and is seized with efforts at archiving,” the statement read.
Event organisers said it is envisaged that the Amagugu Cultural Expo will be a combination of cultural and artistic activities that will charge fees to the visiting public.
“At the same time, there will be other activities that will require sponsorship in the form of prizes for winning cultural activities. The range of artistic and cultural activities will be quite wide so that the day becomes a day of fun for the young and the old, especially those not familiar with African culture notably the urbanites.”
The statement highlighted that the outdoor events will include competitions in the best decorated Thatha Nqola Thatha Nqola (scotch cart), Thatha Bhayisikili (bicycles), jumping castle for children, Gqula inkelo (Amarula kernel cracking), Gqula inkelo (Amarula kernel cracking) and leather tanning.
Indoors, participants will be explaining and interpreting what is happening and participate in other practical activities which include making earrings, dolls, hairdos, decorating calabashes, and painting walls.
“Performances will include poetry, drum-based music, Njelele shrine music, and school choirs with all sections to attract prizes.”
To successfully hold the event, Amagugu is calling for assistance from donors.
“It is worth stating at this stage that Amagugu is currently applying for both corporate and donor funding for this expo to come out as envisioned. Preparations are already afoot on the ground as Matobo locals are gathering their materials for the various decorative competitions that will happen over a two-day period.”
Amagugu International Heritage Centre (AIHC) was established in 2010 with a view to document, preserve, interpret and showcase African culture, African cultural heritage, and African arts. In pursuance of these broad objectives, the centre has reached out to schools and the general public, both local and international. – @SeehYvonne