Tchopa, the sacrificial dance of the Lhomwe people was in 2014 inscribed on to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Gule Wamkulu, the Great dance of the Chewa people was in 2008 inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Vimbuza healing dance of the Tumbuka people was in 2008 inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Documentation of Folktales Project
This project was concerned mainly with collecting folk-tales throughout Malawi for education purposes contributing to the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage of Malawi in the national context of implementing the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Effort was made to avoid collecting the whole range of folklore as this would be impractical within the time and financial limitations of the project.
After collection, the folktales were put onto DVDs and hard drives. Timveni Child and Youth Media Organisation used the videos to produce radio and television educational programmes targeted at children and youth. An annotated bibliographic index consisting of titles of folktales, narrators’ names, communities, addresses and contact details was developed by the National Library Service. Classifying, organising and displaying the bibliographic index can be done by theme, village, traditional authority, district and region. The bibliographic index enables a comparative analysis of cultural, social, linguistic and artistic identities across various villages, districts, regions and languages. The index reveals the intrusion of imported texts in translated and adapted versions, and their historic and cultural dimensions. The index can be accessed by readers in the National Library but is yet to be put online due to technical and budgetary constraints.
The outputs of the project include: 256 folktales documented and archived at the National Library Service, Malawi national Commission for UNESCO and Rei Foundation Limited; 5 technical members trained in documentation, editing and archiving of audiovisual material; 256 community members able to reintroduce storytelling in their homes; 20 people able to conduct community based inventorying of intangible cultural heritage and 256 folktales safeguarded.
The overall results were:
• The contribution towards the safeguarding of Malawian intangible cultural heritage;
• The regeneration of interest in storytelling among Malawian communities both urban and rural as well as among media houses;
• The generation of more informal cultural education materials for children; and
• The enhancement of capacity in the use of high audiovisual technology and audiovisual production.
Documentation of Folksongs Project
The main objective of this project is to contribute towards music education through safeguarding of Malawian folksongs. “Safeguarding” in this case means measures aimed at ensuring the viability of the folksongs, including the identification, documentation, research, preservation, protection, promotion, enhancement and transmission, through the Music Crossroads Malawi Academy, National Library Service and other relevant institutions, leading to the revitalization of the music heritage in Malawi. This will contribute to the music curriculum of the Academy and enhance the teaching of music in the schools; ensure respect for the folksongs of the communities, groups and individuals concerned; provide them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and creativity among upcoming music artists. There is great need for the safeguarding of the folksongs as many have disappeared because of lack of preservation. The project will save many folksongs which would otherwise have been lost. The preserved folksongs and products of this project will act as resource material for the music schools not only in Malawi but across the world. They will contribute to new local and international musical genres for artists to adopt thereby contributing to the development of the music industry.
Community-based Inventorying of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Malawi successfully carried out the first project resulting in building the capacity of 10 youths in community-based inventorying and an inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) consisting of 32 elements. The aim of the second project was to promote visibility of the African intangible cultural heritage at international level. Under this project, Malawi managed to: establish the National Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee, consisting of community representatives, public officers, the youth and members of the academia; train officials, youth, and journalists on the scope and objectives of the 2003 Convention; start the process of policy and legal review; successfully applied for international assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund (ICHF); develop an action plan for the next two years; and develop and submit to the intergovernmental committee of the Convention, a nomination dossier on Tchopa Dance which was inscribed on the Representative List (RL) of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during the 9th Session of the committee in 2014. The legislative review process started with the Monuments and Relics Act, the Arts and Crafts Act, Museums Act, Censorship and Control of Entertainment Act and the Copyright Act.
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