Nkomo legacy left to decay

THE late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s legacy has been left to decay, literally, as material used for an exhibition in Victoria Falls has been abandoned and destroyed by termites and vagaries of the weather.

Richard Muponde
Senior Reporter

The material, a pictogram used to capture Nkomo’s life, which was on exhibit at last year’s United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), was neglected in a metal cell, which he reportedly lived in when he was detained at Gonakudzingwa Restriction Camp in Masvingo.

The metal cell is part of a cultural village constructed at Elephant Hills Hotel during last year’s conference.

Critics say the neglect was evidence that Nkomo’s name and history were only evoked when Zanu PF politicians conveniently wanted something, with the late vice-president’s legacy completely ignored when the officials would have achieved the desired results.

The Zimbabwe cultural village, the exhibition in Victoria Falls, was a partnership between the Tourism ministry, Friends of Joshua Trust and Mateji Resettlement Village and was meant to depict and celebrate the country’s diverse and rich culture.

It was also aimed at preserving the nation’s cultural heritage.

Observers in the resort town maintained that this state of neglect at the exhibition showed that the government was not committed to it and this could be nothing but an elaborate and meaningless publicity stunt.

In the metal cell were exhibitions of Nkomo’s early years in politics and family life captured in photographs.

However, the material was abandoned soon after the end of the UNWTO summit and the metal cell is now an eyesore, while all the pictures were soaked by rain and picture frames with Nkomo’s portraits and that of his late wife Johanna were being devoured by termites.

Nkomo’s former son-in-law and Indigenisation and Youth Empowerment minister Francis Nhema, who toured the cultural village yesterday, expressed his dismay at the state of the exhibition. Nhema was in the resort town for the five-day Sadc conference for Youth ministers.

“It was a good thing, but the way this material appears now is not good at all,” he said.

“This material is priceless and you will never find it again.

“I will tell the hotel management to remove the material and keep it safe.”

The minister’s message was relayed to the Elephant Hills Hotel manager Trythings Mutyandasvika, who immediately summoned staff to go and remove Nkomo’s material and lock it in a safe house.

“We will keep it safe somewhere and later hand it over to the Friends of Joshua Trust,” said Mutyandasvika.

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