Monthly Archives: October 2016

Finding Gule Wankulu in Malawi

Some sets of pictures from my time in Malawi.

Some sets of pictures from my time in Malawi.

This past August I was on assignment in Malawi as part of a long term commissioned book project I am doing for the Marist Brothers Bicentenary in 2017. The Marist Brothers are a Catholic order of Brothers who have communities in more than 80 countries around the world.

As my taxi drove through the scorched red-earth hills between the airport and Lilongwe I noticed these two colourfully dressed characters bounding between the bushes. I asked my cab driver to stop and when they were moving past the car my driver asked them where they were going and I managed to take this portrait of the Gule Wankulu.

As the cab drove over the parched red hills surrounding Malawi's capital Lilongwe I noticed two bounding colourful creatures along the edge of the scrub. They were Gule Wamkulu's and I was transfixed. Gule Wamkulu is both a secret could and ritual dance practiced among the Chewa people in Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique. It is performed by members of the Nyau brotherhood, which is a sort of a secret society of initiated Chewa men. I was Lucky to stumble across is fascinating characters three times during my trip to Malawi.

As the cab drove over the parched red hills surrounding Malawi’s capital Lilongwe I noticed two bounding colourful creatures along the edge of the scrub. They were Gule Wamkulu’s and I was transfixed. Gule Wamkulu is both a secret could and ritual dance practiced among the Chewa people in Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique. It is performed by members of the Nyau brotherhood, which is a sort of a secret society of initiated Chewa men. I was Lucky to stumble across is fascinating characters three times during my trip to Malawi.

I was totally amazed by what I had seen and as we drove off I asked the driver to tell me all about the Gule Wankulu. It wasn’t until I could get and read up on the Gule Wankulu cult of Malawi. Twice more on my trip I stumbled upon the Gule Wankulu. They were both on dirt roads in central Malawi, an area dominated by the Chewa ethnic group who the Gule Wankulu cult belongs to.

 

Gule Wamkulu's we stumbled upon at night time in rural Malawi.

Gule Wamkulu’s we stumbled upon at night time in rural Malawi.

 

Of my two other interactions, the above nighttime gulewankulu picture was the most fascinating. Driving home around 8pm we slowed down as these two straw made creatures lurched down the road towards us. My driver a Marist Brother from the Chewa group told me they were transporting the Gule’s to the neighbouring village’s cemetery to be used the following day during a funeral ceremony.

 

Two kids in rural Malawi dressed up as Gule Wankulu trying to earn some money. I was told this is a common practice during school holidays as families try to find extra ways to raise money for school costs.

Two kids in rural Malawi dressed up as Gule Wankulu trying to earn some money. I was told this is a common practice during school holidays as families try to find extra ways to raise money for school costs.

 

When not spotting Gule Wankulu’s I was I was rather busy working in this commissioned bicentenary book project. Unfortunately more info about it will remain under wraps for the coming 6 months at least. In the mean time here are a few more pictures from my time in Malawi. You can see a few pics below.

 

Some sets of pictures from my time in Malawi.

Some sets of pictures from my time in Malawi.