The festival was organised by the Institute of Ubuntu which was set up in 2001 with the objectives of “promoting African Renaissance and to develop a cross-cultural exchange among different African tribes”.
The cultural tourism, the first of its kind to be organised in the country, was a two-day event.
Director of the Institute of Ubuntu, Dumiso Matshazi told journalists that the festival was aimed at preserving and developing African culture.
“We were inspired by the moral degeneration in our country and thought that with this festival, we can preserve, restore and develop our cultural values.
“The festival will be an annual event held every September to celebrate King Mzilikazi.
“Activities at the festival involve a variety of ethnic displays since King Mzilikazi’s rule was built around different ethnic groups,” Matshazi said.
The two-day festival began with a march across the central business district from Inxwala Festival Arena at the corner of Main Street to the ZITF.
Matshazi added: “The focus is on bringing together traditional leaders, King Mzilikazi’s traditional provinces and other communal leaders on a two-day event.
“Our wish is to work with everyone but we want to also put the record straight that we are not sponsored by any political party.”
Among the traditional leaders that attended the official opening of the cultural festival were Chief Dakemela (Nkayi), Chief Bakwayi (Kezi), Chief Jahana (Insiza), Chief Ndondo (Mbembesi) and Chief Gwebu (Umzingwane).
Last month, uMthwakazi kaMzilikazi Cultural Association, which has the backing of Mzilikazi’s descendants, held commemorations marking the death of the king.
Mzilikazi Day is commemorated on September 9, with celebrations in Zimbabwe, South Africa, The United Kingdom and the United States of America.
At the ZITF, there were multi-ethnic presentations on poetry, music and dance in celebration of the cultural life of King Mzilikazi.
In the evening, there was a musical show featuring contemporary musicians like Cool Crooners, Lwazi Tshabangu and Jeys Marabini.