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Britain submits Zimbabwe human trophies' identities report

by Staff reporter
23 May 2017 at 05:39hrs | Views
The Natural History Museum of London has submitted a report on their findings in relation to the identities of human remains of slain heroes and heroines of the First Chimurenga, National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) executive director Dr Godfrey Mahachi has said.

Although the findings of the report could not be made available to The Herald yesterday, sources say if in the affirmative, this would mark the beginning of the process to repatriate the remains of slain heroes and heroines of the First Chimurenga.

The response was triggered by President Mugabe, who in August 2015 while addressing people who gathered to celebrate the Heroes Day commemoration, castigated the British for displaying skulls of some of Zimbabwe's heroes and heroines from the First Chimurenga in their museums as symbols of colonial conquest.

Said President Mugabe: "Tanzwa kuti misoro yevanhu vedu, vakuru vedu, yanga yakaunganidzwa mumuseum kuBritain. Varikuti tizoitora. Tichaitora tichigunun'una kuti makaidimurirei? WaMbuya Nehanda hameno kuti tichauwana here pakati pacho? (We are told that skulls of our people, our leaders, are being displayed in a British museum and they are inviting us to repatriate them. We will repatriate them, but with bitterness, questioning the rationale behind decapitating them)," he said.

"The remains of our heroes, sacred to us, which were taken out of the country during the colonial period, have now been identified in the British History Museum. The remains, skulls, we strongly believe are the skulls of beheaded heads of Mbuya Nehanda, Sekuru Kaguvi, Chingaira Makoni, Chinengundu Mashayamombe, Mapondera, Mashonganyika and Chitekedza Chiwashira, among others."

In an interview with The Herald yesterday, Dr Mahachi said since Britain's confirmation last year that it had heads of some heroes and heroines of the First Chimurenga, the NMMZ was working with the British Museum to establish identities of these remains.

He said, Britain had now completed the process and a report had since been submitted to Zimbabwe through the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe.

"We have made some progress in our attempts to repatriate the human remains that were taken to the United Kingdom," said Dr Mahachi. "What they have been doing all along is to look at their documentation for purposes of trying to establish any linkages between the specific request we made to them regarding the identities of the people we wanted repatriated."

Dr Mahachi said Zimbabwe had specifically requested confirmation of remains of Mbuya Chahwe, the medium of the Nehanda spirit, Sekuru Gumboreshumba the medium of Kaguvi, Chingaira Makoni, Chinengundu Mashayamombe, Mapondera, Mashonganyika and Chitekedza Chiwashira among others.

"They were conducting what they called archival research to establish if they could confirm that these are the individuals that they are holding. They have now submitted their report detailing their findings," said Dr Mahachi.

He said NMMZ had now presented the findings to the Ministry of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage for Government to make a decision on the way forward.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Dr Thokozile Chitepo, could not disclose whether Britain had succeeded in identifying the human skulls it had in its museums saying her Ministry needed to brief the Principals first.

These heads were brutally decapitated by the settler regime before being ferried to Britain as trophies of conquest soon after the First Chimurenga.

They are reported to be on display in the British History Museum.

Source - the herald