2006-2009: Japan finances the project
"Safeguarding of the Vimbuza Healing Dance"(Malawi)

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UNESCO has started to implement the Project entitled “Vimbuza Healing Dance” in Malawi . This cultural expression was proclaimed Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.


This Project is financed under the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust for the Preservation and Promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage .


Context and Objectives of the project:


Vimbuza is a dance performed as part of a traditional healing procedure, to cure psychological illnesses. It is practiced among the Tumbuka people of Northern Malawi . Although Vimbuza is considered by the Tumbuka as a form of art and as a therapeutic practice which complements other forms of medicine, it is today threatened by the migration of rural young people and the lack of recognition by modern medicine.


This twenty-eight-month Project (November 2006 – February 2009) aims at giving incentives to the transmission of skills and knowledge of the Vimbuza Healing Dance to younger generations and raising awareness of its importance.


Activities foreseen


The Project's activities include:


- field research (interviews of practitioners, creation of audio-visual documentation)


- creation of an inventory of all aspects of the Vimbuza


- organization of festivals and workshops to encourage and train young people and to foster exchange, dialogue and understanding between Vimbuza healers and modern medicine practitioners


- publication of a book on the Vimbuza healing dance


This Project will not only help to safeguard and transmit the Vimbuza healing dance, but also, through cooperation between Vimbuza healers and medicine practitioners, will contribute to enrich the health care system in the Northern region of Malawi and benefit the population.





UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust for the Preservation and Promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage .


Masterpieces proclaimed in 2005 - Vimbuza Healing Dance"(Malawi)


人類の口承及び無形遺産の傑作の宣言 (2005年)


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