The First Lady Amai Auxilia Mnangagwa says the inaugural Zimbabwe Food and Culture Festival is a platform for Zimbabweans to celebrate the country’s authentic traditional way of living. The festival is running from the 23rd to the 25th of May 2019 in Harare.
The fiesta is being held on the backdrop of efforts to boost domestic tourism.
The festival’s main objective is to promote and restore cultural diversity, unite locals, bridge the cultural divide and more importantly promote domestic tourism.
“As a nation we have seen an increase in diseases such as cancer and this led me to interrogate a number of things that may be contributing to this. Ofcourse this led me to our eating habits. As you all know, many of us have departed from the foods that our parents and grandparents ate. Certain ailments and premature deaths were not heard of back then,” The First Lady said during her opening remarks this afternoon.
“In my day to day engagements with families, I have witnessed certain misfortunes which I am certain can be reduced or eliminated if we can deliberately reclaim and embrace what was passed on by our ancestors. Ladies and gentlemen if we fail to do this, I can only wonder what our legacy shall be”. she said
“Someone once said ‘A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.’ I am therefore happy to launch the inaugural Zim Food & Culture Festival to be held from 23 to 25 May 2019 at the Harare Gardens.”
She added: “It is my sincere hope that this platform will afford us an opportunity to celebrate our authentic Zimbabwean traditional way of living. The festival will showcase various traditional foods, native languages, arts, crafts, music and music instruments, fashion, fabric, furniture, traditional healing methods and medicines, cultural practices and social activities, among others.”
“I have travelled to so many countries and some nations have embraced their culture and can be easily identified, during this festival I am hoping that many activities that we will be having will be our first step to recollecting our identity.
“I hope that through the festival both the young and old will be reconnected or introduced to a truly Zimbabwean way of life. In addition the event will afford us an opportunity to embrace our cultural diversity, promote domestic tourism, promote cultural food consumption and healthy eating, promote social cohesion while bridging the cultural divide and more importantly preserve Zimbabwe’s cultural heritage. The festival will also compliment Government’s efforts to enhance community engagement and increase community awareness on cultural issues.”
She spoke as cultural festivals and events are increasingly becoming arenas of discourse enabling people to express their views on wider cultural, social and political issues.
In the face of modernisation and globalisation Zimbabwe Food and Culture Festival is an addition to existing efforts which seek to wrestle the negative effects of cultural erosion & cultural diffusion.
H.E Nacerdine Sai, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Algeria, speaking on behalf of the African Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Harare paid homage to the organisers of the event.
The Ambassador added that in the framework of the new dispensation, promoting traditional Zimbabwean food has a key role to play in developing tourism.
“The opening of this festival will offer visitors an opportunity to discover so many different dishes of various sorts, colours and tastes, choosing between pure and authentic indigenous African dishes and other dishes originating from India, Europe and other places, which bring diversity,” Sai said,adding:
“That’s why the visitor will be able to taste in the same place, at Harare Gardens, things like Mutakura from Murehwa, Madora from Mount Darwin, Nhopi from Masvingo and Rukweza from Mutoko.”