Malawi is home to two magnificent world heritage sites, the Chongoni Rock-Art Area and Lake Malawi National Park. Malawi also possesses two forms of magnificent Intangible Cultural Heritage in Gule Wamkulu and Vimbuza dance.
Chongoni Rock Art Area
The Chongoni Rock Area is a collection of 127 sites in the Dedza district of Malawi featuring rock paintings which date back to the Stone Age. The Chewa, who have been shown to have lived in the area since at least the Iron Age, continuously practiced rock art well into the 20th century. These sites display a continuous and exhaustive history of the people of Southern Africa. Come and see how traditions and living conditions have evolved in the region over the entire course of human history.
Lake Malawi National Park
Lake Malawi National Park was the first freshwater National Park in the world. The lake features hundreds of endemic fish species, an expanse of pure, blue water, and some of the most fabulous scenery you can find anywhere. Befitting of the title, “The Lake of Stars,” the lake shines in the sun producing a breathtaking visual effect that simply cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. At approximately 30,000 m2, the lake is about twice the size of Iwate Prefecture. The quality of the lake however, cannot be compared; Japan contains nothing like it. Lake Malawi should absolutely be on your list of places to visit at least once in your lifetime.
The Gule Wamkulu is performed in the season following the July harvest, during weddings, funerals, and upon the death of a chief. Dancers wear masks made of wood and straw and play a multitude of characters. The dance started in the seventeenth century as a ritual dance for a secret cult practiced by the men of the Nyau brotherhood of the Chewa. The dancers represent the world of the dead and dance with a ferocious energy.
Vimbuza Healing Dance
The Vimbuza is practiced by the Tumbuku people of northern Malawi. Through the dance, participants manifest Ng’oma, the “drums of affliction” and attempt to heal disease. Patients of the dance are usually women. Other women and children of the patient’s village surround the patient while she dances her disease. Through the songs of the dance, the patient is able to express themselves to others and alleviate any stress they may have. The dance continues to be used to this day in some parts of Malawi as a medical treatment.