The religious significance of Malaila traditional ceremony of the Kunda people of Mambwe district in Zambia.

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Mulenga, George
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University of Zambia
The research investigated the religious significance of Malaila Traditional Ceremony of the Kunda people of Mambwe District in Zambia. The study also recommended how the ceremony could contribute to Zambia’s tourism industry and endeavoured to address the following specific objectives: to assess the religious significance of major activities performed prior to the MTC, to determine the religious significance of major activities performed during the MTC, to establish the religious significance of major activities done after MTC and to establish how the MTC can contribute to Zambia’s growing tourism industry. The qualitative research approach was utilised and the design was case study. The population of the study were the Kunda people and purposeful sampling (based on roles played during MTC and expertise in Kunda cultural beliefs) was used to select 20 research participants who included: a chief, four indunas, a ritualist, four beer brewing women, four representatives of singing groups, an initiator of children, four Yao people and a Promotions Manager from the Tourism Board of Zambia. Semi-structured interview guides and observation schedules were used to collect data. The study generally revealed that prayers, rituals and various religious teachings were expressed through songs and actions, and that the MTC could promote Zambia’s tourism industry if well-advertised and facilities are put in place to attract and accommodate tourists. Specifically, the study revealed that prior to the MTC, the religious significance of activities performed were: honouring ancestors, observing taboos to evade offending spirits, praying and giving offerings to ancestors and strengthening the potency of ceremonial items. The study also revealed that during the MTC, activities performed had the following religious significance: paying homage to ancestral spirits through prayers and offerings at the graves, giving respect and honour to the senior chief and the initiation of the young. After MTC, purification of guns, unification of humanity and ancestral spirits and the aspects of unity and sharing were expressed. The study established that the MTC could help promote Zambia’s tourism industry by disseminating information on how to conserve nature, improving local artistic expressions, formulation of the Kunda Cultural Identity and cultural exchange. Study recommendations were: The Zambian government to help promote African cultural values and beliefs as these depict the identity of Africans and media houses should take keen interest in the MTC to ensure that cultural values and beliefs are publicised. Key words: Malaila, traditional ceremony, religious, tourism
Mambwe (African people) , Traditional Ceremonies--Malaila