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Plans to transform King Lobengula's Inxwala venue

by Staff reporter
07 Nov 2020 at 05:51hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is in the process of engaging stakeholders towards turning the large expanse of land at corner Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street and Masotsha Ndlovu Avenue where King Lobengula used to hold the Inxwala Festival into a cultural hub.

The cultural hub is set to, among other things, document the historical relevance of the place that has remained plain since the fall of the Ndebele State.

The development comes at a time when the Government has also embarked on a programme to immortalise eminent liberation icons from the First and Second Chimurenga/Umvukela to immortalise their supreme sacrifices towards the liberation of Zimbabwe.

Recently, President Mnangagwa accorded one of King Lobengula's general Mtshana Khumalo who led the Mbizo regiment that defeated the Wilson Patrol and also killed its commander Major Allan Wilson at the Battle of Pupu in 1893, the national hero status.

The Government is also in the process of constructing the statue of Mbuya Nehanda in Harare among many other initiatives.

Speaking during a clean-up campaign at the site yesterday, BCC senior public relations officer Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said it was important to preserve culture and heritage hence the initiative.

"As a city we have been keeping the place for a long time without doing anything as we had not consulted stakeholders on what we want to do with this place. As a country and region, we have noted the importance of culture and heritage to our people. We have to decide how best we can improve this place hence we have started consultation with Matabeleland Forum of Chiefs," said Mrs Mpofu.

She said the place is supposed to reflect culture and heritage and the chiefs have already visited the place as part of the consultation process.

"Our wish is to continue with these high-level engagements and soon we will approach the relevant ministries to also give their input. Our aim is to preserve and enrich this place culturally so that its a reference point for citizens of Bulawayo and the country at large," said Mrs Mpofu.

Historian Mr Pathisa Nyathi welcomed the move.

"It was an Inxwala site which I think was the most pre-eminent ceremony of the Ndebele, this is where there was the regeneration, recreation of the nation and expressions of allegiance to the King for example if there were soldiers who were not in agreement with the King, they would not go and that would be making a statement which is what Mbiko kaMadlenya and his group did to Lobengula in 1870," said Mr Nyathi

"It becomes a very important site bordering on sacredness, very divine place which obviously has an important lace in the history of the Ndebele nation."

Mr Nyathi said the area had not been tempered with from the colonial era to post independence in recognition of its historical significance, "in relation to the city which in itself is about the Ndebele State, Ndebele nation, Ndebele culture, Ndebele spirituality. All those are expressed there, the political side, the cultural side, the economic side because they all come in it as one, it was very holistic and all wrapped into one and all of them expressing their allegiance to the King."

Mr Nyathi said if the site was to be left like that, authorities would not be doing justice in telling its historical significance to the future generations. He said it was important to go along the cultural side of things.

"What is needed is people who understand what Inxwala was all about to sit down and come up with aims and objectives of whatever should now be built out there. One of them is to make the future generations aware of the significance of that place," said Mr Nyathi.

He said there was also a need to construct structures, the core and supporting infrastructure informed by Afrocentric designs using modern material which will be easy to maintain.

"The centre must be interpretive, in other words the structures must be accompanied by a narrative, what the Government is saying we should do immortalising eminent people in our history, those statues should be accompanied by a narrative, this is what renders eternity to Mbuya Nehanda, Lobengula, Joshua Nkomo and many others," he said.

"The designs must be thematic, the designs must revolve around Ndebele architecture, culture, artistic traditions and there should be narratives. Why is it a beehive? Why is it cone on cylinder? What does that mean to the Africans in terms of their world view, cosmology and philosophy?"

The Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Nqobizitha Ndlovu, who was also at the clean-up, said if the initiative materialises, it would help boot domestic tourism. Recently, the Minister Ndlovu launched a domestic tourism campaign dubbed ZimBho #IzimYami# Vakatsha.

Meanwhile, Minister Ndlovu urged Zimbabweans to embrace the President vision of a clean country.

"We will be celebrating our second anniversary since the President and Head of State ED Mnangagwa launched this programme and his vision is that of a clean country, a clean Zimbabwe. We believe that if every community embraces as we all have over the last two years, his vision is achievable," he said.

He appealed to Zimbabweans to come out in their numbers to participate in the clean-up campaign on the first Friday of December.

"We appreciate that over the last six to seven months we have all been home because of the lockdown induced by the Covid-19. We have slowly opened up our economy and that has also seen the rate of littering increasing a bit, so we want to remind our citizens of the importance of keeping the country clean and also the importance of coming out to clean on the first Friday," he said.

Minister Ndlovu said citizens should manage litter and Government on its part was working with Environmental Management Agency (Ema) to educate communities on how they can separate litter.

"There is litter that is recyclable or reusable, we want communities to be able to tap into that and maybe get some bit of money out of it. We are after all approaching our festive season, so I think extra money will be helpful. We are excited that Bulawayo has maintained its culture of being the cleanest city in Zimbabwe," said Minister Ndlovu.

The Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Judith Ncube urged Bulawayo to continue keeping its environment clean especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Source - chronicle

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