From George Maponga in Masvingo
The National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) has initiated moves to ensure that KwaVaMuzenda Heritage Site in Masvingo’s sprawling Mucheke suburb is properly maintained to befit its status as a landmark tourism shrine.
This follows concerns from stakeholders over the deterioration of the heritage site which is now in a stage of neglect amid reports of simmering battles over who should look after it.
The site was built in Mucheke A’s Zimuto Street, in honour of the late iconic national hero Vice-President Simon Muzenda who used to live in two round huts during the formative years of his nationalist struggle that culminated in the successful execution of the Second Chimurenga, leading to Zimbabwe’s independence. Mucheke A is the oldest location in Masvingo City built primarily for black employees by Rhodesian colonial settlers.
Some Mucheke A residents were not happy over the opening of the site arguing that it restricted movement to and from their homes. This is believed to be behind the heritage site’s current dilapidated state and neglect with some paraphernalia housed there reportedly having been vandalised.
Some daring residents were also turning the historic site into a love nest owing to absence of round the clock security.
NMMZ Masvingo regional manager Mr Lovemore Mandima said Government, through the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, had assigned them to ensure the heritage site gets requisite attention.
“We are in the process of getting all stakeholders together for the purposes making sure the site is well kept through giving it the necessary attention it deserves like other sites of similar nature,” said Mr Mandima.
He said NMMZ had the statutory mandate enshrined in the Constitution to look after places like kwaVaMuzenda Heritage Site.
Among the stakeholders that will be consulted by NMMZ to make sure the site was well maintained are the residents of Mucheke A, who need to appreciate the potential positive spin-offs from hosting such as historic shrine.
NMMZ will also consult Masvingo City Council and the Friends of Joshua Trust, who were involved in the setting up of the site.
The late VP Muzenda was granted the Freedom of the City of Masvingo in 2001 while the national hero famously known as the “Soul of the Nation’’ died in September 2003.