BULAWAYO councillors have failed to agree on proposals to rename Barbourfields Stadium after the late Zipra commander, Lookout Masuku, with some arguing naming a street after him would suffice.
By KHANYILE MLOTSHWA /TALENT GUMPO
The issue generated heated debate at Wednesday’s full council meeting, with the majority of councillors saying they would rather preserve “colonial” history than rename the stadium after one of Matabeleland’s greatest heroes.
Ward 27 councillor, Siboniso Khumalo, sounded apologetic, insisting that even though the man after whom the stadium is currently named was white, it is the duty of the local authority to protect that history.
“Even the President of this country is honoured through a road in this city. Even (the late Vice-President) Joshua Nkomo is honoured through a road in this city. A road should be enough for Masuku, rather than change the name of the big stadium,” he said.
“Even though Barbour was white, that is how that stadium has come to be known. We need to protect history.”
Bulawayo’s Main Street was three years ago renamed Joshua Nkomo Street in honour of the late Father Zimbabwe, while the city’s airport has also been named after him.
A polytechnic college in Gwanda has also been named after Nkomo.
Several councillors argued that the name Barbourfields was familiar all over the world, and has become the city’s trademark and changing it would be akin to tampering with historical records.
However, Ward 1 councillor, Malandu Ncube, who had presented the proposal said it was equally important to recognise the brave anti-colonial history of the black people in Bulawayo.
“As much as I appreciate what councillors are saying, it is important to take cognisance of our own history,” he said.
“There are people in this country, who occupied a front row when we were nearly wiped out in this part of the country, and have roads named after them, in their honour. Yet, we cannot honour our own, a man who fought hard and died violently; and the councillors in this house sit here and make funnies.
“People from Bulawayo are finding it hard to invest in their own home city because of this attitude. They find it better to invest in South Africa and other countries and not Bulawayo. We should teach ourselves to honour our own.”
The councillors decided to defer the matter to allow for residents to give their opinions.
In an unrelated matter, councillors expressed concern over delays in clearing blocked storm drainages after some floods spilled into houses in parts of the city following heavy rains that hit the city.
“The water could not go into drainages, as they are blocked by sand and litter and this led to water flowing into houses,” Ward 24 councillor, Gideon Mangena said.
“The concerned department must clear the drainages to allow the free flow of water.”
Ward 12 councillor, Lillian Mlilo echoed similar sentiments, saying she witnessed residents, who failed to cross paths into the main road due to the water flooding the paths and not flowing into the drainage system.