ED threatens Rhodes’ grave

Cecil John Rhodes grave in Matobo

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has threatened to “take action” if the British failed to claim the remains of Cecil John Rhodes buried at Matobo in Matabeleland South province.

He made the remarks during a Zanu PF rally in Bulilima, Matabeleland South, on Saturday.

“There is this place where Rhodes is sleeping at Matobo. At one time when we became independent, the late Josiah Tungamirai and Solomon Mujuru came to me and said we want to go and blast Rhodes's grave because he is a colonialist.

 “It will come a time when the heads of our ancestors such as Mbuya Nehanda will come back and they should take their dead ones. I stopped them,” Mnangagwa said.

 He indicated that plans to bring back the remains of the ancestors’ heads from Britain were now at an advanced stage.

 “If they ask for him (Rhodes) we will give them. If they do not need him we will see what we can do about it,” he added.

Rhodes died in 1902 and was buried in Matobo Hills National Park, south of Bulawayo, as per his wish.

Calls for the exhumation of his remains date back to 2012.

The late former President Robert Mugabe blocked war veterans and Zanu PF politicians from exhuming his remains, saying his legacy was part of the country’s history.

The veterans had blamed his grave for causing erratic rainfall patterns in the Matobo area.

The gravesite is a tourist attraction, visited by thousands of tourists both local and foreign. It lies at the summit of a hill known as the “World’s View.”

In 2003, Matobo Hills was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Rhodes was a colonialist and politician who made his fortune in South Africa’s diamond fields. He founded the De Beers diamond firm.


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