Binga villagers perform rituals to scare off animals

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Finger millet field

BY PRESTIGE MUNTANGA
BINGA villagers have resorted to traditional ways to scare away wild animals and birds destroying their crops, especially millet and sorghum.

Ward 25 Muchesu councillor, Matthias Mwinde said the community was practising mpande to scare away wild animals from getting close to human settlements.

Mpande is a system where community members come together during the night and beat drums making noises to scare away animals.

“We have been experiencing challenges of these animals destroying our crops at this time of the year,” Mwinde said.

“We have called the Binga Rural District Council for assistance. Professional hunters came to our area.

“Although they are here, people continue to practise their cultural rituals.

“It is working. After performing the traditional mpande, animals do not come near human settlements,” he said.

“People practise mpande, a process where the community members come together during the night and beat drums making noises.

“Early in the morning they go to the fields and catch locusts and small birds.

“All the gathered bats and insects are then handed over to one traditional person who then processes them culturally.”

“The community had lately abandoned these cultural activities.

Villager David Mudenda added: “Many villagers have been claiming that they are now Christians and that their beliefs do not allow them to perform traditional rituals.

“However, the situation has forced them to practise it again.

“Animals have been wreaking havoc in our fields and many people have died as a result of shunning their culture.”

“Human-wildlife conflicts have been increasing, which has led to the death of many people and the destruction of crops in Muchesu, Tyunga and many areas in Binga.

“That is the main reason why people have decided to practise tradition so that no one has to die again.”

Another villager said: “The traditional leaders gathered two weeks ago to discuss mitigating ways that could be taken to control human-wildlife conflicts.

“The agreement was that the community will perform the rituals.

“We are happy that now even our leaders have come to realise the importance of our traditional practices.

“The modernisation of the world does not mean we have to move away from practising our culture.”

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