Top Malawian Cultural Festivals


While a majority of us spend the first part of the year saving up for a Lake of Stars ticket or a Sand Music Fest experience, different tribes in the country enjoy a number of traditional festivals. As we got excited feeling all sorts of lit, as whoever introduced that word must have felt, about the newly introduced Nyasa Music Festivals that brought us South African acts like AKA, Nasty C, and Busiswa, here are a few festivals that light up the fire inside the warm hearts of different cultures.

1. Mulhako wa alhomwe

While promoting the Lhomwe culture, Mulhako wa alhomwe is famously known for its promotion of gondolosi – a plant that is said to have an importance to a man’s sexual life as they say it helps with his strength in bed. The festival has grown to be mistaken as a political event over the years but was originally launched on 25 October 2008 as a way of promoting the Lhomwe culture in Malawi.

Mulhako wa alhomwe is probably the biggest cultural festival in Malawi.

The Lhomwe are one of the 4 largest ethnic groups living in

Malawi and have history of migration across the Mozambique-Malawi border to settle in the southern part of Malawi.

2. Tumaini Festival

A cultural festival created with the aim of promoting the works of artists living in refugee camps. The festival, which was initiated in 2014 by a Congolese political refugee, Tresor Nzengu Mpauni, usually takes place in Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa – currently home to over 25,000 people coming mainly from Rwanda, Somalia, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

3. Gonapamuhanya

The Tumbuka’s well celebrated festival that sees people from all walks of life come together to celebrate the Tumbuka tribe. Gonapamuhanya Festival was initiated as a way of paying respect to the first chief for the Tumbuka’s, Chikulamayembe number one (Gonapamuhanya).

The Tumbuka are an ethnic group found in Northern Malawi, Eastern Zambia and Southern Tanzania.

4. Umthetho

An event that seeks to preserve and promote the Ngoni culture. The festival is led by Inkosi ya Makhosi M’mbelwa and has different themes every year. Umthetho signifies tradition, custom, law and governance.

The Ngoni trace their origins to the Nguni and Zulu people of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa.

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