Angela Sibanda, Showbiz Reporter
Over the years, Culture Week celebrations have been characterised by organised events where people wear traditional/cultural clothes and remove them at the end of the event.
The significance of the event has often been forgotten until the next celebrations.
This year, things are set to change as Zimbabwe expanded Culture Week into a reconstituted Culture Month to accommodate cultural activities that had been taking place over a week in the month of May.
Since the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity by the Unesco in 2001 when 21 May was declared as the World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, Culture Week has been held during that week.
As Bulawayo joins the rest of the country in celebrating diverse cultures this month, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) provincial manager Cleopatra Dube has urged locals to own their culture and not wait for public events for them to remember and celebrate cultural things.
“We encourage people to preserve culture in all levels and different sectors of life, from communities, home, workplaces, and schools.
As NACZ, we don’t own the cultural day or the cultural month, all we can do is officiate cultural events hence people should not wait for us to celebrate,” Dube said.
“Some people have a culture of keeping time.
From school level, kids know sirens signify different time intervals and this is a culture that is adopted and we need to do the same with our indigenous culture.”
Dube implored corporates to join in on the celebrations by introducing initiatives aimed at celebrating our diverse cultures.
“In workplaces, people may decide to celebrate this month by introducing cultural Fridays where people dress in a symbolic dress code.
If it’s a company that buys food for workers, they can buy indigenous meals or cook such foods in canteens in celebration of our culture this month,” she said.
She said culture is how individuals, families, or societies live their daily lives and it is what they are going to be remembered for.
“There are a number of things that we do as people which have become a part of our daily lives and have become our identity, that’s our culture.
Culture is not necessarily the things that happened long ago.
We might have adopted a lot of European practices into our own lifestyles, but the more we practice them, they become our daily lives; that becomes our culture.”
The Culture Month, Dube said, is a great opportunity for locals to embrace the national fabric.
“We now have the national fabric and it’s part of our culture because it identifies who we are. So, someone might decide to design clothes of their choice using the fabric and wear it with pride during this culture month.”
Dube said indigenous languages are part of our culture and so, some indigenous names should not be alternated with English terms as this tends to paint a different picture about the subject.
“I believe that we should take pride in our language since it’s part of our culture.
Let’s preserve indigenous names for food and other things and stop trying to alternate them with English terms.
For instance, the idea of calling amacimbi, mopane worms makes it sound like something really disgusting.
Let’s just stick to the names as they are, just like how names like pizza and others have been adopted all over the world as they are,” she said.
Meanwhile, the second Week of Culture Month is in full swing with District launches taking place in Gokwe South, Gweru, Zvishavane, Mberengwa and Shurugwi.
A cultural foods cooking competition is set to be held at the Gwanda Culture village today.
In Harare, a Culture Imbizo and Exhibition Cradle will be held on May 18 as part of the ongoing Culture Month commemorations.