Saturday, April 24, 2010

RETOSA delegates fall for Malawi’s Gondolosi

By Nyasa Times Published: April 23, 2010

Delegates to the three-day 43rd board and annual general meeting of the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA), which was held in the commercial city of Blantyre, Thursday enjoyed the climax of their visit to Malawi when they could not resist purchase of herbal powdered aphrodisiac popularly known as Gondolosi when they visited Mulanje on excursion.

The delegates, who came from Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa and hosts Malawi visited the tea districts of Mulanje and Thyolo and spent some time at the Lhomwe heritage centre at Chonde in Mulanje.

The centre is the headquarters of Mulhako wa Alhomwe, a cultural heritage organization whose vision is to revive, develop, promote and preserve the Alhomwe traditions, culture, customs and heritage.

RETOSA realises that there is plenty of cultural tourism opportunity in Malawi and would like to spearhead the promotion of culture and traditions as a uniting factor and a tourist attraction drive and also an education experience and hence the organisers of the meeting proposed a visit to the Lhomwe centre.

During the tour at the Lhomwe cultural centre, among the things that attracted the delegates was a traditional medicinal stand. The delegates, especially men, were so interested when a Lhomwe lady was explaining the usage and bedroom results of some of the medicines. Immediately demands for purchase arose.

Immediately an arrangement was made and a Mulanje known supplier Francis Loti was contacted on the demand. With his well-packed plastic tubes, Loti made sales of over MK10,000. The sales took place during lunch at one of the lodges on the foot of Mulanje Mountain.

"I have never sold like this before. I just can not believe this. And I am happy I have contributed to tourism promotion for Malawi," said the excited Loti. He said almost all delegates bout the stuff.

National Spokesperson for Mulhako wa Alhomwe, Hastings Maloya feigned ignorance on the heavy purchases of the stuff but indicated that many delegates indeed expressed interest to buy.

"We at Mulhako wa Alhomwe only felt honoured that the delegation paid us a visit. We indeed organised displays, food, traditional dances and a tour of our school classes," said Maloya adding that there was indeed serious interest on the medicinal products "but did not know that the visitors bought because I did not join them to lunch."

Maloya (pictured) said if this is true, it may mean that the region has similar beliefs and this justifies the formation of cultural groups that encourages realisation of traditional beliefs.

RETOSA is a subsidiary organisation under Southern African Development Community (SADC) which was established with a mandate to facilitate regional tourism development and promote tourism growth by marketing the region as a single destination

According to Secretary for Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, Jeffrey Kanyinji the meeting discussed, among other things, the state of tourism in the region, which include growth and development strategy for the region.

He added that the meeting also had looked into the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which South Africa is hosting starting on 11 June and see how best countries in the region could market themselves to attract tourists through the tournament.

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Source: Malawi news | NyasaTimes breaking online news source from Malaw


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