Zambia Culture- Food On Display At Indaba

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Amid calls for Africa to use tourism as tool to build bridges between its people and their cultures, Zambia proved to be ahead of the pack at Africa’s Travel Indaba held in Durban last week, by showcasing traditional food, dress, song and dance as an important aspect of tourism.

Indaba is Africa’s premium travel show, that gives a platform for the Africa operators to meet with buyers from across the world where they market their products, and also showcases the various products of tourism and culture – and gastronomy has been a big part of these.

After a hectic three days of back to business meetings on the trade floor of the expo, and while different companies and tourism authorities were wrapping up and ready to head back to their respective destinations, Zambia took it a step further.

The Zambia Tourism Agency stall, which was also host to the various operators from the country became a place of a cultural extravaganza. The event was also an opportunity to celebrate the agency stall scooping the Green Standard Award – Platinum – Large at the Indaba.

The mood was electrified with the full attendance of Zambia’s tourism minister Rodney Sikumba and his Malawian counterpart Vera Kamtukule. This appeared to have been in line with the calls for collaborations, and positive competition in the continent for better branding to market Africa as a brand.

“Indaba could not have come at another better time than now when the world at large is re-opening and ready to receive tourist from different countries. To us it symbolized hope and potential for growth in the sector. We displayed and discussed our rich cultural heritage and gave visitors a chance to appreciate the Zambian culture by   through our team from the department of National Parks and wildlife which was displayed on our stand and also, we had an opportunity to play Zambian music and display our rich culture heritage,” said Martha Muzeya, Tourism Promotions Manager from the Zambia Tourism Agency.

Muzeya said the food, prepared by Zambian Chefs include:

Chikanda – Popularly known as African Polony Chikanda is commonly referred to as ‘African polony’, although it is entirely vegetarian. Made from wild orchid tubers, peanuts, chilli and baking soda, it is cooked until it has a meatloaf cconsistency, and is served either hot or cold.

Fruits – Traditional seasonal Zambian fruits include wild loquats called ‘masuku‘ which have a plum-like taste, ‘masau‘, which tastes like sour apples, and baobab seeds called ‘mawuyu‘ among others.

Michopo – Michopo is roasted meat which is usually cooked outdoors on the grill. It is usually beef or goat meat served with chilli or onions, tomatoes and potatoes. Michopo is commonly found at bars as it is great paired with a Mosi (the local lager).

Ifishashi – Pounded peanuts are mixed with vegetables such as rape (a type of kale) to make ifisashi, although it can be added to other food items such as kapenta (a small sardine-like fish), sweet potatoes and chikanda Fish Zambia’s many water bodies produce different types of fish. Some of the most popular are kapenta (small sardine-type fish that are fried in oil, tomatoes and onions), and buka buka, a species of Nile perch, and bream which is either grilled, boiled or dried, and served in gravy with nshima.

She further highlighted that the chitenje fabric is mostly worn by most Zambian women, in rural areas especially, wear something called a chitenge.

“A chitenge is a piece of cloth, 2 yards or meters in length that women wrap around their body. The width of the cloth is long enough to cover you more or less from your waist to your ankles (depending on your height!).”

According to Muzeya Zambia has country with 73 tribes, 10 regions with 100 colorful traditional ceremonies. Each ceremony celebrates the significance of natural cycles, past military glories or age-old traditions. The appeal of ancient Africa is evoked through these ceremonies that reaffirm the mystique of timeless myths and legends. The Zambian traditional values are preserved and cultural identity confirmed in ritual ethnic celebrations.

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