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Nkomo's 'Revolutionary house' carries countless memories

01 Jul 2016 at 08:30hrs | Views
OVER the protracted struggle to liberate the country from the shackles of white minority rule, the late Vice President Dr Joshua Nkomo went through thick and thin.

At his house located in Pelandaba, Bulawayo, Dr Nkomo spent countless sleepless nights as his life was constantly under threat.

But he did not tire and fought hard together with other gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe until the country attained its independence.

The Pelandaba house, which has since been christened the "revolutionary house," carries countless memories of the man and his struggle to liberate the country.

Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Trust chief executive officer Jabulani Hadebe said plans were afoot to turn the Pelandaba house into a museum as it is of rich significance to the country's liberation heritage.

"Father Zimbabwe's revolutionary house will be turned into a museum because many significant events happened while the late Vice President was resident there.

"Apart from it being a family house, many other things happened while umdala (Dr Nkomo) lived there. At the moment, Dr Nkomo's son Sibangilizwe lives there," said Hadebe.

He said the government through the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) had since engaged Dr Nkomo's family to discuss the idea of turning the house into a museum.

"Plans are in the pipeline to turn the house into a museum, more or less like Mandela's Vilakazi Street home. But with this Pelandaba house, the issue has been that of space. Unlike the Matsheumhlophe house, which has more space to display more artifacts, there is less space there. I personally think that house should've been made a museum a long time ago because that's where Dr Nkomo lived during the liberation struggle and even after the country attained its independence," said Hadebe.

Although the exact date of when the house would be unveiled as a museum is unknown, Hadebe said, the house would be open to members of the public just like the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Museum in Matsheumhlophe.

Gogo Senelani Moyo, one of Dr Nkomo's neighbors recalls the in's and out's that would take place at the house before the country attained independence in 1980.

"There was a time when things became so tense such that the movements in and out of the house had become inconspicuous. There were times when meetings would be held there. I remember at some time, the house was raided but fortunately Dr Nkomo wasn't at the house during the raid," said Gogo Moyo.

She said the townships were the heart of the struggle as this was where the majority of blacks lived.

"As you already know, due to the laws of segregation, blacks were confined to the townships. But being Dr Nkomo's neighbour was comforting knowing there was someone within reach who was helping liberate the country," said Gogo Moyo, as she recounted her experiences in the neighbourhood before independence.

Another of Dr Nkomo's neighbours, Nesisa Masuku, said it would be a noble idea turning the late revolutionary leader's home into a national heritage site.

"It would make us happy, as his neighbours, to share the experience with any other person who would visit the museum. As it is, it's already enough of an honour just knowing Dr Nkomo lived just next door to me, what more when the house becomes a tourist attraction," said Masuku.

She said the establishment of such a monument would be fundamental in educating children about the country's history and preserving Dr Nkomo's memory.

"It's important that our children grow up with an appreciation of the country's history. Such museums will always be a constant reminder of where we came from as a country and the people that dedicated their lives to liberate us," said Masuku.

Thabani Moyo, another neighbour, echoed Masuku's sentiments saying the project would liven up the suburb.

"We can never contest such noble ideas. This is what this suburb needs, something different which also serves a crucial role. It'll be exciting to have an opportunity to see some things belonging to Dr Nkomo that we had never had the chance to see," said Moyo

According to a recent study, despite Zimbabwe's heavy reliance on natural and heritage resources, the new breed of tourist wants to have a more intimate relationship with the communities in the countries they visit.

It is no longer the thrill of seeing the Big Five, but rather "to meet real people, witness how they live and experience their current state of development and cultural heritage".

It is now accepted that mass tourism is no longer competitive since discerning "cultural" tourists have been known to be higher spenders hence the need to repackage tourism products in order to cater for this new kind of tourist.

Culture-based tourism such as township tours are a better alternative to the traditional nature-based tourism because it has been found to be more sustainable, it cannot be substituted and is participatory particularly for the communities being visited.

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