Community wants change, eyes tourism industry

National

THE people of Wanepap, in Laiagam, Enga, plan to change the negative image of their district, as the “wild west”, by registering a festival group to promote tourism and local culture.
The Sangai Festival committee has received recognition by the National Cultural Commission (NCC) through the presentation of a certificate of registration as a cultural group.
It was officially launched on Aug 2 by NCC acting executive director Steven Kilanda. “The district hosts the Pogera gold mine but only through stand-alone products like cultural tourism can the district be sustained beyond mine life,” Kilanda said.
“Only by keeping our cultures alive do we have any hope of only holding on to our unique heritage and sustain ourselves financially,” he said.
The Sangai Festival comprises of an initiation ceremony by teenage boys preparing for manhood through long contests and instructions. The festive usually ends with feasts as the initiated come out with full traditional attire.
Young girls of marriageable age would be present at that time to vie for their future husbands.
The NCC did not provide any funding for the festival but said it would give technical support once the festival was running.
“It should never be about money,” Kilanda said.
“We have far too many different cultural groups for NCC to present each monetary support.
“But we invite them to register with us and get certificates.
“This will enable them to be on our cultural festivals calendar which will market each show domestically and internationally.”
Meanwhile, Kilanda presented K20,000 to the Enga show committee to cater for the Enga Cultural Show and other small festivals such as Sangai Festival which was for Aug 16-18.

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