Safeguarding of the Gulu Wamkulu, the Great Dance of the Chewa People

  • Project budget:
    • US$ 129,374
  • Source:
    • Japan Funds-in-Trust
  • Dates of implementation:
    • 01/11/2006 - 01/12/2009

Benefitting country(ies): Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia


Performed by the Chewa people of Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, the Gule Wamkulu is a dance that accompanies initiation ceremonies, weddings, funerals and the installation of chiefs. Male dancers wear full costumes and masks made of wood and straw, expressing a great variety of spiritual and secular characters.

This multinational project, coordinated by the Malawian National Commission for UNESCO, includes, among others, the following safeguarding activities:

  • capacity building among master practitioners (training of trainers) and training workshops for young initiates through exchange programmes and the distribution of educational materials;
  • awareness raising effort through inter-village, national and multinational festivals and joint radio and TV programmes;
  • support to Malawian, Zambian and Mozambican staff for research, documentation and the creation of an inventory on Gule Wamkulu, collating resources of all three countries;
  • encouragement of legal protection of intangible cultural heritage.

For monitoring and continuous exchange among three countries, a multinational safeguarding committee composed of tradition bearers, Chewa authorities, and the respective national implementation agencies in each country has been created.

01/10/2006 - 01/12/2009 – Action Plan for the Safeguarding of the Makishi Masquerade in Zambia01/11/2006 - 01/12/2009 – Safeguarding the Chopi Timbila tradition in Mozambique