BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
NATIONAL Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) general manager Lewis Mukwada last week said the National Railways of Zimbabwe Museum in Bulawayo was severely under-marketed despite having gained a reputation as a tourist attraction.
The museum, which opened its doors in 1972, is located in the old railway suburb of Raylton and is home to a mosaic of original classic locomotives that speak of a rich heritage.
Speaking at the buyers and media cocktail at the museum, Mukwada said their recent partnership with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) would help bring the monument under the spotlight.
“We believe that at present our museum is severely under-marketed and the coming in on board of Zimbabwe Tourism Authority will raise its profile both locally and internationally to new levels,” he said.
“As NRZ we are committed to ensuring high quality exhibitions at this museum as we boast some of the invaluable historical rail artefacts that have shaped our destiny as a country, economically, socially and development-wise.”
Mukwada said the museum was largely self-funding and that had affected its operations.
“We are thus, grateful to individuals and organisations of the friends of the museum who have been helping with the upkeep of the museum in various ways,” he said.
On display are an impressive collection of various artefacts of steam and diesel locomotives, construction and recovery equipment, Rhodes’ coach as well as a collection of priceless photos, which are rich in railway history.
Mukwada said NRZ’s drive towards diversification into tourism is not only endowed in the museum, but stretches to steam safari excursions using steam locomotives.
“The steam locomotives have basically made us to contribute significantly to the country’s tourism sector. With our steam trains we carry tourists and steam enthusiasts from all over the world to our local tourist destinations such as Hwange National Park, Victoria Falls, Kuimba Shiri, Figtree, Khami and Matopos, among others,” he said.