The reconstruction of King Lobengula’s capital, popularly known as Old Bulawayo, razed by veld fires last August is yet to begin amid revelations about how $100 000 is needed to kick-start the project.
National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe western region director Darlington Munyikwa on Tuesday said his organisation held a stakeholders’ meeting in November last year where it was resolved to engage the business community in raising funds for the project.
“It was agreed that we needed to mobilise about $100 000. We plan to engage the business community in April so that we can raise funds to restore the site to its original state,” he said.
“We also got some money from our insurers but it was not substantial because of the roll-over from the Zimbabwe dollar regime to the multi-currency system.”
When NewsDay visited Old Bulawayo on Tuesday, the site that once stood as a symbol of Ndebele history was covered in tall grass with little evidence that the place was once home to a powerful paramount king.
The news crew discovered that the rubble that resulted from the inferno was never collected and some of it has been covered by sand.
Munyikwa said they also planned to increase the size of the fireguard surrounding the two-hectare national heritage site located 17km from Bulawayo.
“We also appeal to the community surrounding the site to help preserve it because the government cannot do it alone,” he said.
King Lobengula and his people built the Ndebele capital in 1870. It was burnt down in 1881 by colonists and missionaries who wanted to turn Lobengula’s people against him.
One of the king’s indunas, Magwegwe, led the process of burning down the capital after which Lobengula and his people moved northwards to the site of present-day State House in Sauerstown, Bulawayo.