Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
BULAWAYO is undergoing a major facelift as Government steps up efforts to spruce up the city ahead of the main 42nd Independence Anniversary celebrations at Barbourfields Stadium, with several roads leading to the venue being rehabilitated.
For the first time since 1980, the main celebrations will be held outside Harare under the theme: “Zimbabwe @42: Leaving no one and no place behind.”
Independence Day is on April 18, and this year the country celebrates 42 years of freedom and majority rule.
The theme dovetails with the Second Republic’s drive towards promotion of national unity, devolution and decentralisation.
President Mnangagwa will officiate at the proceedings, which will include a football match between fierce rivals Highlanders and Dynamos.
After the football match, members of the public will be treated to a music gala, with performances from various artistes.
Before the main event, President Mnangagwa will host a children’s party at the State House in Sauerstown on April 17.
Chronicle news crew yesterday visited the Victoria Falls-Masotsha Ndlovu Avenue stretching to Robert Mugabe Way and observed roadworks being carried out.
Part of the road, which also leads to the Barbourfields Stadium, has been resealed.
The road has been temporarily blocked to allow road works to go on uninterrupted and vehicles are using alternative routes.
In an interview yesterday, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution secretary Mr Paul Nyoni said preparatory works are moving according to plan.
“We are sprucing up the city, which is an ongoing exercise and our target was to get everything done by the 15th of April such as the repairing of roads, which are significant to the event, enhancement of road markings and clearing of drainage systems as well as cutting grass among other works,” he said.
“Major roads like the ones leading to Khami National Monument and various shopping centres in the western suburbs are being spruced up.”
The onset of the 42nd Anniversary Independence Day Celebrations will be marked by fireworks at the Tower Block at midnight on April 17.
Mr Nyoni said they will hold a meeting tomorrow to do final touches.
“We are going to have a final working party meeting to do the final preparations and there will be a ceremony to receive the Independence Flame on 16 April and there will be the movement of the Independence Flame from Khami to the Bulawayo Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe on 17 April. On the same day, there will be the Children’s Party followed by the Independence Ball in the evening,” he said.
“There will be fantastic fireworks at the Tower Block in the city centre to light up the city as we mark the ushering in of the 18th of April, and of course the festivities in the morning followed by a soccer match in the afternoon and musical gala in the evening.”
Huge screens will also be erected outside the stadium at the B Arena for people that fail to fit into the stadium to follow proceedings live.
Mr Nyoni said the preparations are on course, with modification at Barbourfields Stadium having been done to accommodate the podium at the VIP stand.
“We are also ready to accommodate children from outside Bulawayo who will attend the Children’s Party and they are coming on 15 April and will be staying at seven designated schools which are; Townsend, Luveve, Eveline, Milton, Gifford, Founders, Northlea high schools and they will be fed at the dining rooms with standard menus,” he said.
A total of 1 050 learners selected from primary and secondary schools across all the 10 provinces and encompassing the districts will attend the event.
Initially, 540 learners were set to attend the event, but the number has been increased in order to afford children from Bulawayo an opportunity to interact with the First Family.
Bulawayo was initially scheduled to host the 40th Independence Day celebrations in 2020, but it was postponed after Government declared a National Disaster and enforced a lockdown as part of measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
The celebrations and other public events were cancelled in March of that year as part of measures to contain the spread of the pandemic, which had started claiming lives globally.
Article Source: The Chronicle