The Role of Enviromental Education in Sustaining a 'Shared 'Meaning of the Lwiindi Gonde Ceremony
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Zambia, as a country, has many cultures which are celebrated at different times, in diverse styles, and for various reasons (Kapwepwe, 2007). Among the Tonga people of the Southern Province of Zambia, one way culture is cerebrated is through the Lwiindi Gonde Ceremony. According to Kapwepwe (2007), the Lwiindi Gonde Ceremony is the main Tonga ceremony. The purpose of the study was to investigate the shared meaning of the Lwiindi Gonde ceremony and to establish the contribution that environmental education could make towards the sustainability of such a ‘shared’ meaning of the ceremony. The objectives of the study were to: describe the Lwiindi Gonde Ceremony; investigate a ‘shared’ meaning of the ceremony; establish the perceptions of various sectors of society about the ceremony; and explore the role of environmental education in sustaining the original meaning of the Ceremony. The study used a descriptive survey. A sample total of 74 respondents were purposively selected and this included eight of each of the following categories; traditional leaders of the Tongas, the youths, politicians, the clergy, journalists and business persons. Additionally, 12 elderly persons, 12 teachers and two members of Staffs from Mukanzubo Cultural Centre were also included. Data were collected using structured interview schedules and physical observations. Quantitative data collected were analysed using simple frequency distribution tables and percentages while qualitative data were analysed using descriptive approaches where similar themes were grouped using constant comparative techniques. Tables and common listings were used in the presentation of data for analysis. The Lwiindi Gonde Ceremony takes four days during the Heroes and Unity Holidays of July at Gonde in Monze District. The activities of the ceremony include entertainment, trade, speeches, meetings by various categories of people, and exhibition of the culture and tradition of the Tonga people and a visit to the Malende where assorted activities occur. The Ceremony is a thanksgiving celebration to Leza (God) through ancestral spirits for the rain and harvest of the previous farming season and a request for good rain and favourable harvest in the following season. It is also a re-union between the Tongas and their ancestors. The meaning of the ceremony was extracted from the following terminologies: Lwiindi, Gonde, Moonze Mukulukulu, Nchete Ilya Mabwe, and Mayaba Moonze. Furthermore, a number of other aspects had their characteristics divulged for the meaning of the ceremony. The research revealed that people attended the ceremony for various reasons detailed in this report. Additionally, the ceremony faced several challenges described in the study which needed to be addressed for the sustainability of its meaning. The role of EE in sustaining the meaning of the ceremony has been discussed in detail by touching various dimensions of the Ceremony. The main conclusion of the study was that EE has a very important role to mitigate challenges that the ceremony faced and to sustain the shared meaning of the ceremony. Perceptions of various sectors of the community should not be despised but need to be harmonised with the essence of the ceremony for the sustainability of the meaning of the ceremony. The study recommends that: EE should be taught as an independent and compulsory subject under formal education in Zambia so that traditional ceremonies could be covered more comprehensively and be considered as a compulsory component of national examination. Media institutions should be encouraged to report objectively and constructively about the Lwiindi Gonde Ceremony and other traditional ceremonies. EE should encourage the perceptions held by various sectors of society to the extent that they do not conflict with the essence and meaning of the Ceremony as a way of encouraging people of various interests to attend the Ceremony.