Book on preservation of Ndebele art, architecture launched

THE United States Embassy through the State Department Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation programme has availed $42 000 to the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo for the publication of the book titled Preservation of Ndebele Art and Architecture at the Amagugu Heritage Centre in Matobo launched on Wednesday.

BY SHARON SIBINDI

The book, written by John Knight, Cliford Zulu, Pathisa Nyathi and Andre van Rooyen and edited by Violette Ke-Tui and Pathisa Nyathi, documents the external and internal art, architecture, and decoration of Ndebele homes through schematic drawings and photographs.

The book also highlights the significance of culture, environment, and local Ndebele history.

Speaking at the launch, United States Ambassador Brian Nichols said the US embassy is leading efforts to preserve Zimbabwe’s rich cultural heritage and supports preservation of Zimbabwean art as part of expanded engagement between the two nations.

“The Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation was created to give the world the ability to preserve iconic features of culture that might otherwise be lost,” he said.

Nichols said the $42 000 for the production of the book is a significant amount of money, but the value that has been created is priceless.

“Many people have contributed in delivering this book and I want to stress that this is a resource for people around the world that now exists to share the culture of Ndebele people, Matopo region and far,” he said

He said the combination and creative use of colour and depth in the book was so impressive.

Meanwhile, Nyathi said the book goes beyond decoration and it seeks to interpret Afro-centric symbols.

The book saw participants from the National Arts Gallery, National University of Science and Technology, Amagugu International Heritage Centre and women from Matobo district joining hands for the project following a documentation exercise that began in 2016.

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