Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
THE Independence Day main celebrations that will be held in Bulawayo will help market the various tourism and cultural heritage attractions in and around Bulawayo as thousands of Zimbabweans from all corners of the country converge in the city.
The city is close to exciting tourism sites such as Matopos National Park, Tshabalala Game Sanctuary, Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage and Khami Ruins.
It is also home to the iconic Joshua Nkomo Statue (city centre) and Museum, Inxwala site, the Hanging Tree, Hillside Dams, Stanley Square, Silver Queen Monument and Old Bulawayo, among others.
Deputy Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality, Barbara Rwodzi, who was part of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on State Occasions tour in Bulawayo on Friday, said the city’s rich cultural heritage and tourism products will be in the limelight as thousands converge in the city for the celebrations.
The high-level delegation had visited the city to assess the ongoing preparations for the Uhuru celebrations to be held in the City of Kings.
President Mnangagwa will lead the main celebrations that are being held outside Harare for the first time since 1980 and this year’s celebration’s theme is: “Zimbabwe at 42: Leaving no one and no place behind.”
This year’s theme dovetails with the Second Republic’s drive towards promotion of national unity, devolution and decentralisation.
Khami Ruins, one of the renowned national heritage sites, will be in the limelight as the independence torch will be lit by chiefs at the ruins before it travels around the city and finally to the Natural History Museum.
On Independence Day the torch will make a journey, from the Natural History Museum, pass through the city and then Makokoba and Mzilikazi suburbs before being taken to Barbourfields Stadium where President Mnangagwa will light the independence flame.
Deputy Minister Rwodzi said the independence torch’s route was a deliberate way of marketing the tourist attractions in Bulawayo.
“In line with NDS1 and what it alludes to, that we leave no one behind and leave no place behind, we are here aligning together with independence celebrations as tourism industry,” she said.
“This is a great opportunity for Bulawayo province as people that will converge for the celebrations will visit some of the places like Khami Ruins,” she said.
She said the decentralisation of independence celebrations will promote domestic tourism.
“We are promoting domestic tourism while at the same time celebrating our big day as a nation,” said Deputy Minister.
She said since the national celebrations will move to all provinces, it will give her ministry the opportunity to market tourism attractions in each and every province.
Zimbabwe football giants Highlanders FC and Dynamos FC will play for the Independence Cup at Barbourfields Stadium.
The ministerial team has clarified that Covid-19 tests will not be required from vaccinated members of the public who want to attend the Independence Day main celebrations.
It is only those in the VIP and the VVIP area who should be tested and the rest will just provide proof of vaccination at the entrance.
A total of 18 artistes will perform during the Independence Gala at the main venue’s B arena and these include artistes from Matabeleland region.
Artistes lined up to perform at the celebrations are Jeys Marabini (Afro Jazz), Madlela Skhobokhobo (Rhumba), Sandra Ndebele (Afro Pop), Chase Skuza (Rhumba), Prudence Mabhena (Afro Fusion), Mani9ne (Zimdancehall), Iyasa (Afro Dance), Mthokozisi Sidubweli (Poet) and LMG (Chimurenga/Umvukela).
Others include Zimdancehall duo Fantan & Levels, Andy Muridzo (Afro Fusion), Sulumani Chimbetu (Dendera), Chief Wenje (Chimurenga/Umvukela), Agatha Murudzwa (Gospel), Bruce Machingura (Chimurenga/Umvukela), Herman (Urban Grooves), Greatman (Sungura) and Mainato (Chimurenga/Umvukela).
In the afternoon on Independence Day, Songs of Lozikeyi, which blew away delegates at the Dubai Expo last month, will take to the stage along with Sandra Ndebele and Jeys Marabini. – Follow on Twitter @bonganinkunzi.
Article Source: The Chronicle