Chewa Heritage Foundation (Chefo) says it is disappointed with the Reverend Yasin Gama of Mvama CCAP following his sermon in which he said that God is graceful to sinners, including gulewamkulu members to whom he gives rains.

In an interview, Chefo vice-chairperson Sefren Khamula said the path which the man of God has taken has pitted religion against culture, two things which have co-existed for a long time.

Gulewamkulu is an integral part of the Chewa culture
“Our culture existed long before the Christian religion came. When religion came, we co-existed. For example, I am a CCAP church elder, but I also respect my culture as a Chewa,” he said.

Khamula said as Chefo, they want to get an apology from the reverend for disparaging their culture.

“We want the reverend to apologise. The apology must come in the same way the attacking remarks came. This is not how Jesus handled himself. Jesus embraced everyone, but here we have our religious leader labelling our cultural practice as sin,” he said.

Khamula said Chefo is worried with the trend which he said if left unchecked, will lead to serious clashes between the two sides.

“Let the CCAP look at the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has a deliberate policy which allows traditional dances in church. That is what co-existence is all about,” he said.

On his part, social commentator Wonderful Mkhutche said the reaction of the Chewa people is normal since they feel attacked.

“In general, as a people we must make sure we make deliberate efforts to co-exist. Making such attacking remarks towards one cultural groupings will only lead to clashes,” he said.

Mkhutche said it is important to be aware that though we live in the same space called Malawi, we have different cultural and religious beliefs which must all be respected.

“Talking about a culture which you do not belong to may not be the best way forward,” he said.

In a separate interview, University of Malawi communication and cultural studies associate professor Anthony Gunde described the reverend’s remarks as out of order.

He said: “The comments are unfortunate. Malawi is a country with people of different cultural and religious beliefs and one ought to respect these. And remember, these cultural groups were there long before modern religious beliefs came in. It is all about respecting other people’s cultures and beliefs.”

And in a move to resolve the issue, the two sides have agreed to a meeting at the district commissioner’s office in Lilongwe today.

Khamula said if Reverend Gama does not show up for the meeting, then the meeting will not take place.

“This week we went to meet him at his place, but he was not there and he referred us to church elders,” he said.

In a now widely circulated video clip, Reverend Gama is seen and heard preaching at Mvama CCAP morning service he is alleged to have made the remarks.

He said: “Ambuye Yesu akunena kuti tizichita ngati atate wathu Wakumwamba. Amagwetsera mvula pa wanthu oyipa. Midzi ya nyau pano ikulandira mvula. Kudambwe kumene amavalira akang’wing’wi kumeneko mvula ikugwa mpaka zilembwe zanyowa kumeneko. Ndiye Atate athu Akumwamba amenewo. [Jesus Christ says we should behave like God the Father. He lets it rain even on the land of evil people. Villages full of nyau people are also receiving rains. The gulewamkulu shrines are also receiving rains and as we speak some of their masquerades have been soaked by rainwater. That is what God the Father does.]”

Nkhoma Synod general secretary Reverend Vasco Kachipapa said he was yet to receive an official complaint from Chefo.

“If we receive the official complaint or any communication, we will respond accordingly,” he said.

Watch Video here.!


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