Old Bulawayo restoration to be complete by mid-year

The Chronicle

Bongani Ndlovu,Chronicle Reporter

THE restoration of King Lobengula’s original capital Old Bulawayo is set to be complete by the middle of 2023 after the treasury allocated the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) funds.

In the 2023 budget Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube allocated $293 million to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.

Part of the money is to be used in rebuilding Old Bulawayo and rehabilitating other cultural heritage sites in Matabeleland.

Old Bulawayo, which was built by King Lobengula in 1870 and was burnt down in 1881 to counter invasion by white colonialists, is part of the Heritage Corridor launched by President Mnangagwa in 2021.

The restoration of King Lobengula’s capital was mooted in 1993 in the run-up to Bulawayo’s centenary celebrations and work was completed in 1997 with the help of royal experts from KwaZulu Natal Province in South Africa.

The palace was however gutted by fire in August 2010 and remained an eyesore as the Khumalos and NMMZ disagreed over who was to initiate the restoration process.

NMMZ director Dr Godfrey Mahachi said he could not reveal how much has been allocated for the project.

“We have done the exhibition in the King’s Palace and what is left is to do the Kings wagon shed, and we are busy interpreting it. So, if all goes well with the budget allocations Old Bulawayo will be completed by mid-year,” said Dr Mahachi.

Old Bulawayo is an important cultural heritage site for tourism and education.

One of the King’s commanders, General Magwegwe Fuyana, led the process of burning down the capital after which the King and his subjects moved northwards to the present-day State House in Sauerstown suburb in Bulawayo.

There were efforts to restore Old Bulawayo in the 1990s, but nothing materialized.

King Lobengula was the last King of the Ndebele and his kingdom collapsed in 1894 after it was raided by white settlers, marking complete colonization of present-day Zimbabwe.

Turning to other projects, Dr Mahachi said research and documentation is being collated for the late National Hero and Freedom Fighter Jason Ziyapapa Moyo’s house in Bulawayo’ Makokoba suburb.

House number 141 is no ordinary house as it was the residence of one of the icons of the liberation struggle, Cde Jason “Ziyapapa” Moyo, a national hero who was the second vice president of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu).

Dr Mahachi said at Khami National Monument, continuous rehabilitation is taking place as with all archaeological sites around the country.

The Pupu-Shangani Memorial Site is close to being completed, Dr Mahachi said.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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