The picture attached is of myself. It ws taken on 07 May 2017, around 6am at the Sanandwa village, in the Sangwali area of the Zambezi region. A group of women, men, young boys and girls had to get up as early as 2am to start preparing food, collecting water, firewood, erecting tents and all other preparations for the retirement party of my father, Mr. Dominic Shitaa, in conjuction with my grand mothers’ +-120 years birthday celebration (it is unknown how old she really is as identity cards were issued based on facial judgement). In the picture, I was punding dry beef meat that had been precooked.
This is one of the delicacies of the cultures in Zambezi region. It is prepared only at special occasions and it can take years before such a dish can be prepared. The pounding process is also done with a special technique that can be successfully carried out by experienced women by positioning the pounding instruments (motar and pestle) , the ponding pace, power excesion, and controlling the dryness of the meat. Other women may sing while the pounding goes on. The household (hut) is fenced with dry water reeds that are collected by men and women at the riverside.
I was wearing a chitenge material that is a pre-requisite to wear at the village. It helps to cover the women’s body as a sign of respect for herself and the community members and protect from reavling clothes, dirt and it is viewed as being very attractive for men.
by Advent Shitaa