Funding delays Old Bulawayo reconstruction

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Old Bulawayo

BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
THE National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) has revealed that completion of the Old Bulawayo project was delayed by lack of funds.

The project was supposed to be completed last year after government promised to assist with funding.

Old Bulawayo, which is former Ndebele King Lobengula’s first capital, is located 15km south-east of Bulawayo.

It was established by King Lobengula in 1870 after the death of his father King Mzilikazi in 1868.

The site was gutted by a veldfire in August 2010, prompting the current renovations.

NMMZ director Godfrey Mahachi on Monday told Southern Eye that they were facing challenges in securing funds to complete the project.

“Progress slowed down towards the end of 2021 largely because of budgetary constraints. As we start 2022, there are expectations of increased activity on site because the project received an allocation under this year’s national budget,” he said.

“The outstanding work alluded to will be taken care of and our anticipation is to have the outstanding project components attended to once the 2022 budget disbursement by Treasury commences. All things notwithstanding, the expectation at National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe is to see project completion within the first half of the year.

“To date, the section of the palisade that was intended for reconstruction was completed together with King Lobengula’s cattle kraal. Those components are largely complete. The wagon shade has also been fully restored. The restoration entailed roofing the structure and rehabilitating sections of the building superstructure that exhibited structural instability.”

Mahachi said the king’s palace was also re-roofed, adding that all outstanding work would be completed this year.

“The exhibition has already been worked out and is available in electronic format.”

Mahachi said the other issue that resulted in late completion of the project was that they were facing water problems at the site.

“One of the big challenges at Old Bulawayo has been erratic water supplies. To address this problem, the project reworked an old borehole on site and further connected both the site in general and the borehole to the national electricity grid. Water is now available as it’s pumped into a water tank, ready for us by both staff and the visiting public,” he said.

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