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King Lobengula stolen 'golden spear' a replica

by Joel Tsvakwi and Ntombiyolwandle Ndlovu
12 Jun 2016 at 07:38hrs | Views
KING Lobengula's "golden spear" that was stolen at Old Bulawayo Natural Heritage Site on the outskirts of Bulawayo is actually a replica of the original spear, an official has said. Assistant Curator of Monuments and Old Bulawayo site manager Miss Senzeni Khumalo admitted that a replica spear placed by King Lobengula's statue was stolen and police were investigating the matter.

"It is indeed true that a spear that was placed by Lobengula's statue was stolen and we have made reports at Hillside Police Station. However, the spear in question is not the real one. The actual spear is kept under lock and key as prescribed by law and other international conventions," said Miss Khumalo.

National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the development. "I can confirm there was a report concerning the theft of artefacts at the Old Bulawayo cultural site and the police are making investigations into the matter," she said.

Miss Khumalo said according to the 1954 International Convention for illicit trafficking of cultural artefacts there was a need to create replicas of original valuable artefacts in order to preserve them.

"All valuable and original monetary artefacts are kept under lock and key to avoid illicit theft of these vital heritage and cultural artefacts. We want the ultimate preservation for future generation. Gold, ivory or silver or any other minerals are not kept in the exhibition areas as purported.

"We make representations so that in the event we lose them we can still have the originals. These artefacts are irreplaceable objects, once you lose them they are gone. We cannot by any means put a golden spear in an open exhibition place. However, not everything that is exhibited in the monuments is a replica. Less valuable artefacts are displayed in their original form," she said.

She said Zimbabwe ratified the 1954 International Convention for illicit trafficking of cultural artefacts hence the country has set standards for the whole management of artefacts. "As a result we have an access policy aimed at properly accessing these artefacts and ensuring their ultimate protection against any sorts of malicious actions against them. If anyone wants to access valuable original artefacts they have to apply for it and we give them permission," said Miss Khumalo.

She noted that their duty is to preserve the entire valuable objects which are of significance. "We research, collect and preserve all archaeological and cultural artefacts and ensure official access to both researchers and ordinary viewers. We exhibit these artefacts to tell a story and history to the audience. Even these artefacts though replicas we do not want to lose them," said Miss Khumalo.

Source - Sunday News

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