Saturday, October 1

Govt embarks on establishing Fort Mangochi as tourist attraction site

By Maxwell Kudzala:

Acting Principal Secretary for Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, George Masinga on Sunday said government was working in partnership with Fort Mangochi Heritage Trust (FMHT) to turn Fort Mangochi Cultural Heritage site into an established world class tourist’s destination.

Masinga said this during a tour of Fort Mangochi, a historical slave trade passage, saying that the Ministry of Tourism initially started with renovating road networks that leads to the historical site.

“The district of Mangochi has its origins here; this is where the British defeated the Yao Chief Jalasi and British built the fort here”.

“We intend to develop the cultural heritage by renovating and reinforcing the wall, building tourists facilities and most of all making the road to the site accessible,” he said.

Fort Mangochi is hard to reach by vehicles during rainy seasons such that the only way to reach the place is by hiking.

Masinga however said that tourist attraction sites such as Fort Mangochi will help in boosting the country’s economy.

“Tourism is a third pillar in the Malawi Development Agenda of Malawi 2063. Once tourist starts coming here they will bring in forex that will improve livelihoods of the people around here and also improve national economy,” said Masinga.

FMHT Executive Director, John Nyambi said that trust is working hard to renovate the fort using funds from USAID through a one year project called Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.

He said that some of the components of the funded project include public works programme, reforestation, and bee keeping to maintain forests cover and Village Savings and Loan to sustain the livelihood activities among surrounding communities.

“The Ambassador of the US has given us funding of 72, 000 US dollars so that we should stabilize the fort in conjunction with the Department of Museums and Monuments but actual implementers are community members”, said Nyambi.

He added that the project involved 300 villagers, most of them women, working in public works programme such that they are being paid stipends per day so that they should be able to invest back in the community through the Village Savings and Loans Association.

“We also want people to have their own forest in the community and the project will also do an element of beekeeping” said Nyambi

Secretary for Chisanzo VSLA, Hamida Amilu said that her group had raised K150, 000.00 through members contributions after wages from public works programme.

Fort Mangochi is a historical ruin located inside Mangochi Forest Reserve near a small town of Namwera and the site was originally home to a famous Yao Chief Jalasi who was involved in the slave trade.

Chief Jalasi later fled to Mozambique in 1895 after being attacked by British Protectorate soldiers.

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