MBERENGWA - The Lemba people of Mberengwa, one of the biggest tribes in the district has vowed to boycott cultural week celebrations that that are to be held at Danga-Mposi in Mberengwa on Friday citing lack of consultations by Government.
The Lemba also described the event as a mockery to them as long as their cultural artifact known as the Ark of the Covenant which was taken away from them by colonialists and placed at a Harare museum is not returned. There is also fear that the event will be politicised by Zanu PF.
The Lemba regard themselves as the lost tribe of Israel and they still keep their culture intact despite that they are a small minority group in Zimbabwe. The Ark of the Covenant is believed to be a piece from Noah's ark. The culture week is bringing people of diverse backgrounds and cultures for celebration activities.
Dr Takavafira Zhou, the secretary general of the Lemba Cultural Association (LCA) told The Mirror that they will not be happy to attend the event when Government is blocking them getting the Ark of the Covenant also referred to as Ngoma Lungundu from the museum.
He also said that his association was excluded from planning meetings of the event. Mberengwa District Adminstrator, White Nkoma however said all groups were consulted and preparations for the event were at an advanced stage.
"Culture week cannot be externally planned. It must be a product of internal discussions, logical disputations, and serious engagement of the kith and kin of the Lemba. What is happening is rather external invasion of our culture and possible intrusion to steal our rights as custodian of our culture," said a statement released by LCA.
The LCA is an association that preserves the Lemba culture in Southern Africa. The LCA said the event is a political move to make money out of our culture and build political capital through facade of honouring their culture. Chief Mposi said the uniqueness of Lemba culture is that it has for years attracted foreigners due to its historical link with Israeli Jews.
"All is set for the day and all stakeholders including traditional leaders and political leaders are coming. We expect delegates from the Rural and Heritage Ministry, National Arts Gallery, top government officials among others to grace the event. The uniqueness of Mberengwa and other districts is that it has people who still preserve their cultures seriously like the Lemba people who largely dwell around Danga," he said.
This year's theme is, "Consolidating Cultural Diversity and Heritage".