Government has underscored the need to harness the wealth of cultural heritage for national development.
Tourism and Arts Minister Jean Kapata says cultures such as the country’s exquisite culinary art should be preserved for purposes of fostering national development.
Ms. Kapata says exquisite culinary helps the country’s identity, enjoyment, research, tourism and education of the present and the future generations.
ZANIS reports that the minister said this when she officiated at the National Handcraft Exhibition and International Food Festival at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka today.
She noted that the country’s heritage is under the threat of falling into oblivion if all stakeholders do not support such events.
The Minister said the detrimental human factors on heritage are partly due to lack of public awareness on the value, benefits and significance of culture on the young who are bombarded with an array of cultures through their exposure to different media sources.
She said the country’s culture and heritage are key drivers of development because apart from their potential to safeguard tradition and heritage for a society, they also promote tourism and development, creative industries and local trade resulting in more money in people’s pockets.
Ms. Kapata noted with delight that cultural industries such as handcrafts and production, music and the cinema are making significant contribution to the country’s growth Domestic Product (GDP).
She said it is because of this that government will continue to provide and develop cultural centres at district, provincial and national levels, promote research in arts and culture, encourage the participation of the public and private sector in the development of arts and culture infrastructure in cities, towns and villages.
She said government has also realised the need to review grants to assist and enhance capacity for up-coming and established arts and cultural practitioners.
She said priority in the allocation of resources should be therefore be in programmes with the potential to generate employment which include the development of cultural centres such as the now completed Maramba and Masala Cultural Villages in Livingstone and Ndola respectively.
Ms Kapata also called on Zambians to reflect on the country’s culture and work towards preserving the nation’s cultural heritage as the country celebrates the golden jubilee.
And Chairperson of the Zambia @50 Secretariat Mulenga Kapwepwe said the secretariat has planned many events ahead of the commemoration of the golden jubilee among which is the hosting of the Jubilee Beauty Pageant which will be hosted on October 11 in Lusaka.
She said 25 contestants have seen been selected from all the 10 provinces of Zambia and are currently in boot camp at Mica Hotel for a month.
Ms Kapwepwe also revealed that Miss Independent 1964 will also be in attendance during the show.