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Nkomo grave rituals set tone

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LATE Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s family will today conduct rituals on his grave at the Heroes’ Acre in Harare ahead of the unveiling of his statue in Bulawayo on December 22.

Nqobile Bhebhe
Chief reporter

Jabulani Hadebe, chief executive officer of the Joshua Nkomo National Foundation, yesterday told Southern Eye that two traditional family ceremonies would be conducted in honour of Nkomo.

The first ceremony took place on Saturday in Kezi, at the Nyongolo Shrine.

“Before the unveiling of the statue and official opening of the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport some rituals have to be done,” he said.

“One such is taking place today (Saturday) at Nyongolo Shrine where the parents of Father Zimbabwe are buried.

“The second ritual would be at the National Heroes’ Acre on Monday.”

Hadebe said the government would provide accommodation and transport for those travelling to Harare for the rituals.

President Robert Mugabe is expected to unveil Nkomo’s statue and officially open the airport renamed after him following renovations that have taken over a decade.

The statue along Main Street is one of the many projects undertaken to honour the legacy of the towering figure of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

Nkomo died on July 1 1999 and was accorded national hero status.

The initial statue was pulled down under cover of darkness in 2010 shortly after it had been mounted after Nkomo’s family described it as too small for a man of his stature.

The family alleged that they had not been formally consulted over the type, its characteristics and proposed location.

Civic society groups in Bulawayo joined in the protests criticising the fact that the statue was made by North Koreans, who are linked to training 5 Brigade that committed the massacre of more than 20 000 civilians in Matabeleland and the Midlands during the Gukurahundi era.

The government has often come under fire for taking too long to complete projects being built in Nkomo’s honour.

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