Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 13.COM 10.b.40

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Zambia has nominated Mooba dance of the Lenje ethnic group of Central Province of Zambia (No. 01372) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Mooba is the main dance of the Lenje ethnic group of Central Province of Zambia, performed since pre-colonial times. It is also practised in parts of Copperbelt and Lusaka Provinces, by both men and women. On certain occasions, when the dance reaches its peak, some lead dancers are possessed by ancestral spirits called BaChooba; it is said that, at this point, the spirits take the lead in dictating the flow of the dance, drumming and singing. Both male and female dancers can be possessed with BaChooba spirits. The costume includes coloured beads, a traditional skirt called a Buyombo, and rattles worn around the calves. In addition, the main dancers hold a spiritual stick known as a Chimika and a fly whisk made out of an animal’s tail. Mooba serves both entertainment and healing functions, and contributes to the spiritual identity of the community. Since the element is performed during social functions that are open to the public, children can observe and learn it freely, with performances attracting a wide audience thanks to their entertaining nature. Almost every adult knows the Mooba dance as it is the main dance of the Lenje people. The Lenje community has also established groups that perform wherever they are invited, helping to promote the practice further afield.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   Mooba dance plays an important role in the structure of Lenje culture, relating to the social and spiritual life of the local communities. It is syncretically interlinked with other cultural aspects of the area’s traditional culture and naturally transmitted in the family and community environment. The entertainment and socializing function of the element brings together different ethnic groups, building social cohesion. Simultaneously, cultural identity is promoted and spiritual satisfaction is achieved during performances of Mooba.

R.2:   The inscription would raise awareness about the importance of this type of intangible cultural heritage at the local, national and international levels. It would encourage constructive dialogue among practitioners of the element and ordinary members of the community and foster a sense of belonging and identity, especially among young performers. The inscription would further contribute to sustainable tourism, highlighting cultural diversity and human creativity.

R.3:   The planned and implemented safeguarding measures take into consideration the local situation, cultural and political circumstances and the development of the element. They focus on the identification, presentation and safeguarding of Mooba dance within the larger framework of the Convention, and propose measures tailored directly to the practice. They will be implemented by local communities, supported by various governmental authorities and national organizations. The file demonstrates the active involvement of community leaders in raising awareness about intangible cultural heritage and fundraising.

R.4:   The element was nominated with the consent of the community leaders, representative bearers and national research institutions. Selected tradition bearers participated in the preparation of the nomination file, taking into account the ceremonial nature of the dance, whose performance is subject to certain customary practices transmitted from generation to generation, related to its spiritual aspects. The text and video in the file confirm that obtaining consent from community leaders was a very important step for the community and that their approval is representative.

R.5:   Mooba dance of the Lenje ethnic group was included in the District, Provincial, National and Regional Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory in 2016. Maintained by the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, the Zambia National Commission for UNESCO, the Institute of Economic and Social Research of the University of Zambia, the National Museums Board and the Southern African ICH (SAICH) Platform, the inventory has been regularly updated based on consultative meetings with custodians of the respective elements.

  1. Inscribes Mooba dance of the Lenje ethnic group of Central Province of Zambia on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Reminds the State Party that updating is an important part of the inventorying process and invites it to include detailed information in its next periodic report on the implementation of the Convention at the national level on how the District, Provincial, National and Regional Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory was drawn up with the active participation of the communities, groups and non-governmental organizations concerned, in accordance with Article 11(b) of the Convention.

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