By MUNAMBEZA MUWANEI
A NUMBER of traditions have been passed on from one generation to another in Zambia.
Some of the best traditional practices that have been passed on from one generation to another are food, customs, and clothing.
Some traditional foods have been maintained while certain customs that infringe on the rights of an individual have been abandoned.
With regard to clothing, many people prefer to wear particular outfits during certain traditional ceremonies.
Nowadays it is not uncommon to see people wearing traditional outfits at functions such as weddings, kitchen parties, graduation ceremonies and birthday parties to mention just a few.
Some people prefer to buy their attire from boutiques while others pay a tailor to make the outfit for them.
Outfit patterns depend on the event that is being celebrated.
Some of the popular attires at kitchen parties are made out of Chitenge material. These outfits have become so popular whenever there’s a kitchen party.
For the Lozi people of Western Province, the story is different because they have a special attire which is worn on special occasions.
This outfit is called a musisi for singular and misisi for plural worn by women while the men wear the siziba.
The musisi outfit can be worn at any special function that is celebrated by a particular family or individual.
This outfit gobbles up a lot of material for it to be made. It consists of two skirts and top layer which involves the use of a stiffener for it to take shape.
Nalishebo Sililo, a designer who makes the musisi outfits in Ndola, says the attire is worn on special occasions.
Labour charged to make a musisi outfit ranges from K200 and above, while buying a ready-made attire is expensive with the cheapest going for K500. The price is dependent on the material used.
Ms Sililo says the Lozi attire originated from Scotland and the common material used to make the outfit is satin.
She says the musisi is supposed to be worn with a marching blouse called the baki, as well as a small wrapper known as a chali.
She says wearing of this traditional attire makes the Lozis to maintain tradition and also enables them to promote the outfit.
“We want to retain our tradition that is why I feel it’s important to wear this attire on special occasions,” She says.
Mr Sishumba Sishumba says the musisi outfit makes the Lozis to appreciate their cultural heritage because the attire had been passed on from one generation to another.
Nowadays at a kitchen parties a bride would wear a musisi outfit and the groom would put on a siziba.
Apart from the siziba men also put on a red barret (called a lishushu). The siziba consists of a white shirt, skirt and long stockings.
The back part of the musisi is supposed to be longer than the front part but for the siziba the front is longer than the back.
Brenda Mambo says the putting the musisi attire makes her to retain the Lozi cultural heritage.
“When I am attending a kitchen party or any special function I always wear a musisi,” she says.
She says originally the outfit consisted of two skirts while the third layer gives the outfit shape.
Previously whenever a girl reached puberty parents were required to buy a musisi attire for her.
Wearing of traditional outfits at special functions enables the country and its nationals appreciate their cultural heritage.
But the musisi attire is no longer being worn just by Lozis alone as people from different tribes now wear the outfit which is a sign of oneness.
This special dress has been passed on from one generation to another and it is important that different tribes maintain their culture heritage.
It is such kind of traditional outfits that people should maintain so that such traditions are preserved for the future generations.