Moni athene! Moselhiwa Miyano mphwithi.
I feel proud to be a leader of a country whose people are not ashamed to acknowledge who they are by celebrating their cultural diversity and richness through festivals like this one.
Today, I will begin with a proverb. No matter how huge a tree may be, it must have roots. No matter how high a mountain may be, it stands on the roots of its rocks. And we have our roots and foundations.
Cultures are the roots that nourish and anchor our umunthu, our humanity! The humanity of a nation is founded on its cultures. These are the foundations of our value systems. And developing a society begins by changing its value system. Culture has an immeasurable role in development. Let’s celebrate our cultures.
Mulhako wa Alhomwe symbolises the cultural foundations and roots of a people. These are my roots, this is a return to my roots, and I am very proud to be here. Every Malawian should be proud to be associated with his or her roots. Even an educated person must realize that knowledge without wisdom is like water in sand. Let’s celebrate the wisdom of the people.
The journey to my roots resurrects powerful memories of childhood. Memories of peace and harmony, and how God the Creator of our earth reminds us to live in peace and harmony with one another; I always remember the rainbow.
I grew up on the highlands of Thyolo admiring colours of the rainbow when the clouds had departed after rainfall. Colourful memories. As children, we often sang and our eyes followed the rainbow connecting one part of the land to the other, connecting people. We always admired how colours of the rainbow came together in peaceful harmony.
Our cultures are like colours of the rainbow. They meet in peaceful harmony. It is pleasing to note that different cultural groups are increasingly living and working together. When the Chewa go for kulamba, the Lomwe are there. When the Ngoni of Mzimba or Ntcheu meet for their cultural functions, we are there. When the Nkhonde of Karonga meet and the Yao in the east, we are all there.
Today, our cultures are the ties that bind us. This is what Malawi needs. Culture should be a source of unity more than division. I therefore would like to say that Mulhakho wa Alomwe and all other cultural groupings that organize festivals, are on the right track for ensuring that besides being their livelihood, their culture is also contributing to the social economic growth of their communities
Count on me because my leadership will always promote unity. In my principles, in my umunthu, I have always believed and lived for unity. I believe that “Society is unity in diversity”.
No matter how big the world is, humankind is one family. No matter how culturally different we are, Malawi is one family. No matter how boundaries may separate us, our cultures are one with those beyond our borders.
If our children are to live in together in continued peace and harmony, our education curriculum must teach our children our common story of oneness. Teach our children our unity in cultural diversity.
Unity is always strength, and division always weakness. We will achieve much and conquer more in unity. Like the union of colours of the rainbow, let our cultures co-exist in peace and harmony. We are one people, different cultures.
Before I conclude, I would like to pay tribute to our Founder, the late Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika, who reminded us the importance of celebrating who we are, and also to the late Paramount Chief Nkhumba, who worked hard to see the dream of our founder realized.
Let me also thank the organizing committee, organizations and individuals who have supported this year’s festival both financially and materially May God bless our land, and grant us the spirit of unity, spirit of peace, spirit of harmony.
God bless Malawi