Bulawayo residents have expressed dismay at the state of neglect of Nkulumane Provincial Heroes’ Acre.
Several residents, including Bulawayo Metropolitan provincial governor Cain Mathema, confirmed the shrine’s sorry state during commemorations of National Heroes’ Day on Monday.
An official with the Department of National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe, custodians of all national shrines, told the gathering they had not received funding for the upkeep of the shrine this year.
Mathema immediately appealed to the business sector to assist in rehabilitation of the graves where the province’s liberation war heroes have been buried.
“I appeal to the corporate world to assist in rehabilitating the Heroes’ Acre,” said Mathema.
“You can see the state it is in and, to make matters worse, National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe did not receive any money to spruce up the shrine. The shrine should be beautiful and artistic so that it is able to attract the eye. The library should be a centre for research on the comrades we are gathered here to commemorate. A fund should be established for the rehabilitation of this shrine.”
Former Zipra commander Andrew Ndlovu equated the neglect to ill-treatment of living heroes of the liberation war whom he described as “destitute”.
“These people lying here were neglected when they were still in their lifetime and during their death. The situation had gone from bad to worse as even their children are scattered in the entire region without any help from the government. We are not happy at all. We fought for this country, but we are never respected even during our lifetime.
“The revolution has been hijacked by opportunists and chancers who are there to line their own pockets leaving all Zimbabweans suffering. A few individuals are in the ship reaping where they did not sow,” he fumed. Ndlovu was paying homage to one of his juniors during the war, Cosmas Ncube, whose remains are interred at the provincial shrine.