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Feature: Women’s cooperative promotes Zambia’s heritage through traditional tools

In Zambia, a nine-year-old cooperative has been committed to preserving the culture of the southern African country despite challenges by reviving tools used in the olden days.

Led by Esther Nyirenda, the Kwandosu Multipurpose Cooperative Society from Kapete, a rural area in the Chongwe district, east of the country’s capital city Lusaka, is paving the way for promoting the traditional way of life.

With 20 women as members, the cooperative makes a broom-like plant, locally known as Chitchuto growing by rivers, into various household tools. It also advocates for the use of different types of calabashes and clay pots as cutlery and as ornamental objects.

“We believe that we can foster a deeper connection with our roots by encouraging the use of tools used by our forefathers,” Nyirenda said.

She revealed that the demand for household tools used by the past generations has provided a source of income for the cooperative members to support their families.

Prisca Maseneko, a 48-year-old woman living in the Chongwe district, said the items she made with Chitchuto have enabled her to learn more about her background.

“The beauty about tools used in the olden days is that they always carry a message that enriches one’s understanding of their heritage,” she said.

The Kwandosu Multipurpose Cooperative Society also promotes indigenous food, showcases the diverse range of local food to the public, and conducts workshops and educational programs aimed at imparting traditional knowledge, particularly to the younger generation in Chongwe and surrounding districts. The efforts have yielded results. More and more people are becoming interested in exploring their cultural roots and traditional practices.

Layson Nyendwa, 72, a resident of Lusaka, lauded the cooperative for its role in advocating for the preservation of cultural traditions through the revival of useful traditional tools. The tools were also exhibited by the cooperative at an agricultural show held in the Chongwe district earlier this month.

“Understanding your heritage is the pathway to tangible growth. If you do not know your history, you will not know what you want,” Nyendwa said.

Source: Xinhuanet