Gulewankulu fundraises for needy learners

By Manasse Nyirenda:

Gulewankulu cult in traditional authority Nthondo in Ntchisi has embarked on a fundraising campaign to raise money to keep needy learners in school.

In an interview, Chairperson for the cult under traditional authority Nthondo, Wilson Chimphonda said that while the cult was in the past associated with retarding development in the area as it is currently on a path to support children’s education.

“Previously we were being seen as an obstacle to development as we did not play a part in ensuring that children attend school. However, since 2014 when N’zatonse project was introduced into the area, we wanted to be part of the positive change in the area by ensuring that children stay in school and that only young men over the age of 18 get initiated into the cult.

“We also discovered some gaps through the project that some learners were failing to attend school due to different challenges such as lack of school uniform, school fees, notebooks and pens among other needs.

“Gule wankulu attracts a lot of interest from different people and we decided to use it for a good cause by organizing dancing competitions among different sects from different areas in this area to raise money for needy learners,” he said.

He further said that through this initiative in 2016 they raised K830, 000 and bought notebooks and pens which were distributed in four schools namely Mtsiro, Sambakunsi and Kayoyo among others to alleviate some of the challenges.

He also said a fundraising event they planned for July 2021 failed to take place due to COVID-19 restrictions, but was optimistic it will be held to raise more funds for such causes.

Village headman Nthondo said his village has put in place several safeguards to ensure that children stay in school such ensuring that initiation ceremonies are only held during holidays and only those over the age of 18 undergo such initiation processes.

He further said that currently more children are going to school in comparison to the past when initiation into Gule wankulu was seen as a big achievement for young people as opposed to attending school.

He further said that bylaws have been put in place to punish those who break the laws through fines.

Elina Undi, who conducts initiation for young girls into adulthood said through N’zatonse project only girls over 18 years old are initiated during holidays to ensure that their education is not interrupted.

N’zatonse Project is funded by KFW Bank of Germany and is being implemented by Norwegian Church Aid and Dan Church Aid.

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