The Sunday Mail
Although local culture has largely been diluted by Eurocentric views, attitudes are shifting in favour of all things traditional. There is a huge appetite for traditional cuisines, traditional crafts and traditional arts events as well as natural hairstyles and fabrics.
The Great Limpopo Cultural Trade Fair is hosted at Gaza Trust by the Centre for Cultural Development Initiative (CCDI) in Chiredzi. Now in its seventh edition, the showcase focuses on indigenous food, beverages, food crops, indigenous medicines and medicinal plants, traditional designs and crafts, games and performing arts as well as wildlife and livestock enterprises.
Mr Hebert Phikela, the CCDI director, said it is important to showcase the indigenous heritage for the benefit of the communities and nation at large.
Their annual event will be held in October at Boli Muhlanguleni near the Gonarezhou National Park.
“We will be showcasing indigenous foods from cultivated crops and wild plants. They have some unique nutrititional and health benefits and can be processed and packaged into commercial products.
“We have lots of undocumented indigenous medicines and the expo will parade some of them with due respect to intellectual property rights.
“In addition, the expo will showcase the indigenous Tsonga designs and crafts. We will also launch the unique indigenous games,” Mr Phikela said.
The festival brings together communities within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, Gonarezhou National Park, Kruger Park and Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. It incorporates wildlife and livestock management. Said Mr Phikela: “We will focus on how we can minimise human-wildlife conflicts. We will also look at how the indigenous communities in Chiredzi can benefit from the wildlife economy by being active players, not mere beneficiaries.” The expo runs under the theme “Creating solutions for people and nature.”
Despite the rich cultural heritage that adorns Zimbabwe, very few festivals are available to showcase and celebrate the heritage’s beauty.
In May, the Zimbabwe Food and Culture festival, whose patron is First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, was launched.
The festival demonstrated the local heritage’s richness in terms of food, language, arts, music, crafts, fabrics and medicine, among others.