UMHLAHLO Wesizwe SikaMthwakazi, a civil organisation, has appealed to the Bulawayo City Council to rename streets, schools and suburbs with full titles of historical significance that reflect the dignity and honour the name bearers deserve.
The organisation cited Lobengula Street and Leopold Takawira Avenue, which they said council must rename King Lobengula Street and King Mzilikazi Avenue respectively.
They complained that a number of streets and schools bear names of Ndebele kings but tagged as ordinary people yet they belonged to the royal family.
“As a vanguard and shield of the cultural heritage of Matabeleland, we humbly request the street to be renamed King Lobengula, as it should be and various other streets and schools named with proper historical references,” the group said.
“Queen Elizabeth Primary School, Princess Margaret Clinic and King George Barracks are examples, but foreign or colonial references and yet named properly.
“We request that Leopold Takawira Avenue be renamed King Mzilikazi Avenue as the king is significant in our history.
“We propose that all monuments, schools, townships and any site that is named after members of the Khumalo royal family and their chiefs and all Mthwakazi heroes and heroines be renamed properly.”
Umhlahlo Wesizwe SikaMthwakazi organising secretary Allan Mlalazi said this would help boost Bulawayo tourism, as the history of the city would be better understood.
Mlalazi said such changes would show people the reason Bulawayo is termed the “City of Kings” because as it is, someone who is not from Bulawayo would not understand why it has that reference.
“We are concerned with the status of Bulawayo as the City of Kings and Queens because we call ourselves descendants of kings as if they were unimportant, it is ironical that we call our kings as we do ordinary people,” he said.
“For example, many do not know that Famona was King Lobengula’s princess, but actually think it was some white person.
“If we name these places properly, history could be better understood with titles like Prince Magwegwe, Prince Nguboyenja, Queen Lozikeyi, Princess Famona, to mention just a few.”
“We requested Leopold Takawira Avenue particularly because it is the exact road that King Mzilikazi used to enter Bulawayo.
“Another avenue can be named after Takawira after the current is named King Mzilikazi,” he said.