By Patrick Ndawala and Chimwemwe Mphande:
Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife on Tuesday launched Malape Cultural Troupe in Machinga as a way of promoting the unique Malape pillars to a world class tourism destination.
Speaking during a familiarization tour of the Malape Pillars, Minister of Tourism Culture and Wildlife, Dr. Micheal Usi said the launch of the troupe was a commitment to promote culture and market the magnificent Malape pillars which have high potential of turning the geographical features into tourists’ destination.
“It is my Ministry’s mandate to see to it that the heritage is well presented, packaged, marketed for communities to reap benefits from it,” he said.
Usi said if the country wants tourism to meaningfully contribute to the social economic development of the country there is need to start investing in the Malape unique pillars.
He said the Ministry in collaboration with its partners would ensure that the site has all necessary facilities to turn it into tourists’ attraction.
“We will promote the site online, electronic and print as well as embarking on education and awareness raising activities,” the Minister stated.
Usi asked communities around the site to be committed in coming up with innovative ways of preserving the geo-architectural site.
“Let the local community take pride in what they have and participate in all areas that promote tourism,” he added.
The Minister said he has sourced funds from O.G Issa Enterprises to develop the Malape heritage site and to build the capacity of the place to ensure it adds value to the pillars.
Paramount Chief Kawinga welcomed the establishment of Malape Cultural Troupe saying such a move would make Machinga a central point of tourism.
“It’s sad that as a district, we have many sites that can be developed into tourism centers but for the past years we have not fully ultilised them,” he pointed out.
Kawinga asked the government to collaborate with local leaders to promote community led tourism in the country.
Maching District Council Chairperson, Councilor Simplex Diwa asked government to consider rehabilitating a road to Malape pillars to make the place accessible to tourists.
Chairperson of the local group that oversees activities at the Malape pillars, Kawina Ngopola said the Ministry’s commitment over the Malape pillars motivating.
He added that this would give the group zeal to continue protecting the environment around the pillars from degradation.
“We will make sure that nobody cuts trees around the area and we will also be planting trees around the area,” Ngopola said.
Malape pillars are found about 10 kilometres west of Liwonde Township.
The Pillars are eye catching scenery of gradual land formation that has become attractive in recent times.
Malawi News Agency-MANA