PARAMOUNT Chief Gawa Undi of the Chewa of people of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique has outlawed sexual cleansing in Chewa culture with immediate effect. Gawa Undi said the employment of a “mystery man” to test the skills of a young girl who had just come of age was now illegal and prohibited in Chewa culture. He said girls attending those initiations must be supervised by cultured elders who should be monitored in their deeds and content administered to the initiates.
Gawa Undi also outlawed spouse inheritance and early marriages, adding that only willing boys above 16 years should be initiated into Gule Wamkulu with their consent. He added that the initiates who are attending school should only be taken in during school holidays and allowed to attend school programmes when asked to by school authorities. Gawa Undi stated that the measures were meant to align Chewa customs with the changing times. He has also warned that parents who deliberately ignore to take their children to school would be punished. Gawa Undi said it was the responsibility of every parent to take their children to school.
According to a statement by a member of the Chewa Foundation Zambia chapter, Dismus Banda, Gawa Undi delivered the message during his tour of Malawi last week. He said parents or guardians who deliberately failed or ignored his order in the Chewa land should be reported to traditional leadership and punishment would be enforced on them.
Gawa Undi advised that parents who were incapable of sending children to school should consider other means of raising their families instead of punishing innocent souls.