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Government starts revival of Joshua Nkomo homestead

by Staff reporter
03 Mar 2024 at 08:48hrs | Views
CONSTRUCTION work has begun in earnest on the site where the old homestead of the family of the country's late Vice-President, Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo was located in Kezi, Matebeleland South Province.

Work on a multi-purpose community centre is set to commence once the construction of the house is done.

Only a grave yard marked the area that was left by the Nkomo family due to the machinations of the colonial regime.

When Sunday News visited the site last week, construction workers were hard at work, with the structure now at window level.

In an interview, the daughter of the late nationalist, Mrs Thandiwe Nkomo-Ebrahim said the revival of the homestead was being executed by the Rural Infrastructure Development Agency (Rida), after the Nkomo family had fruitful discussions with President Mnangagwa on the importance of preserving the legacy of one of Zimbabwe's founding fathers.

"Sometime around 2021 we sat down with the President and during that conversation he expressed a desire to help us preserve the legacy of Umdala Wethu. During that meeting we highlighted the fact that we would like to see the Nyongolo homestead revived. Despite the fact that all that was left there were only the graves, people in the area have respected the place and not built on it. They left the space as it was, both on the side where the graves are located and the other side over the road that runs past the homestead.

"So, as the family and as well as the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo National Foundation, we said since this is the place where Father Zimbabwe comes from, could something be built that could benefit the community. We want people to be proud when they visit from outside the country and they are told this is where Father Zimbabwe comes from. So, we then partnered with Government after we resolved that the place should be developed accordingly," she said.

Mrs Nkomo-Ebrahim said once the house that was being constructed was completed, work would begin on the construction of the Nyongolo Multi-Purpose Community Centre, which will also include a vocational college.

Mrs Nkomo-Ebrahim said the college was intended to elevate the status of young people in the community, who often had to flock to South Africa and Botswana in search of economic opportunities.

"The place that is set to be developed is across the road from the homestead and it is going to be called the Nyongolo Multi-Purpose Community Centre.

"So far, we drilled three boreholes and the community is already benefitting from those.

"This multi-purpose centre will consist of a hall, which will have the capacity to carry at least 300 people.

"There will also be a vocational college because as you know, the Matobo area is very dry and there's nothing for our children to do which is why they end up crossing the border to South Africa.

"We believe that if there is a vocational college then young people in the area will also get a chance to participate in something that can better their lives.

"We have been working with various Government departments on this and right now we have Rida on the works that are already taking place," she said.

Mrs Nkomo-Ebrahim said President Mnangagwa had shown eagerness to fulfil promises he had to people when he visited St Joseph's Mission in Kezi during its centenary celebrations last year.

"You will remember that when the President visited St Joseph's last year, the President told the people that Government will be doing something to help uplift the community so that is what is happening  now.

"What you have seen now are the beginning stages but the real work will be over the road. In particular, the community centre will serve people in Ward 8 and 9, which are the main capture areas, but obviously the college will be open to children from elsewhere.

"That is the vision and we are looking forward to executing it. Once the house is done, we look forward to starting on the main task," she said.

Mrs Nkomo-Ebrahim said the project was being executed by various Government ministries and departments who were working in conjunction with the family.

"As you know there are a lot of Mopani (amacimbi) worms in the area and our desire is to have a big processing plant that will one day allow villagers to export this to other places.

"The vision, you will see it as time progresses but everybody is happy with what we have so far.

"We are working with a cross-section of ministries and all of them are contributing where they are supposed to," she said.

Presidential spokesperson and Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Mr George Charamba, is on record as saying President Mnangagwa had pledged to engage with families of departed freedom fighters and looking at their welfare.

The President has also met with widows and families of freedom fighters like Mrs Sikhubekile Madeya Mangena, widow of the ZPRA commander and national hero, Alfred Nikita Mangena, among other widows and surviving members of fallen freedom fighters.

Source - The Sunday News