Friday, March 23, 2012

Zimbabwe: National Heritage Day to Be Launched

Zimbabwe: THE National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe will soon launch the National Heritage Day to celebrate the country's cultural history, achievements and heritage. Chief curator with the department, Mr Kundishora Tungamirayi Chipunza said celebrating such a day was one way of rallying cultural support and building the country's cultural capital.
"It is a day on which Zimbabweans will reflect and inter-relate culturally and think outside politics and identify themselves as Zimbabweans.
"We are going to hold a fundraising dinner on April 30 to start the programme. Everyone should be culture conscious and have moments to reflect on who they are, so this day will provide that opportunity," he said.
Mr Chipunza said nations were not born but they become.
The cumulative experiences of any country, he said, formed the cultural capital that anchored the culture of any country and essentially become the heritage.
"The cultural capital of Zimbabwe is very big. It has an outstanding mining heritage that shows that there were 4 000 gold mines prior to colonisation.
"There was extraction and value addition of the gold that was later sold to markets in the Far East and India. There were also 500 copper mines. Our metallurgical advancement saw us making alloys well before the whites came," he added.
Mr Chipunza said Zimbabwe had magnificent engineering and architectural skills as demonstrated in the construction of phenomenal structures such as the Great Zimbabwe, which was a capital for at least 350 other similar sites.
Great Zimbabwe was the command capital and political state running the nation's affairs with the help of Mwari (God) while the epicentre of the activities was at Matobos, which was the command capital of the bulk of Southern Africa.
He said his department was charged with the preservation and fostering of the national heritage whose history should be taught to the young generation.
"All generations in Zimbabwe should accept the currency of this capital found in the monuments. People must appreciate the heritage we have so we are deliberately rolling out a programme targeting school children.
"We run competitions on the history, culture and heritage of Zimbabwe on the 18th of May every year. We have been doing it for the past 16 years," said Mr Chipunza.
Zanu-PF Women's League chairperson, Cde Oppah Muchinguri, said the idea of celebrating national heritage was commendable.
"Every nation has a history with which they identify themselves. We identify ourselves through some of our monuments, our culture and even the heritage.
"We have the Great Zimbabwe. Egyptians have their pyramids and they respect that a lot," she said.
Cde Muchinguri said it was important to preserve the national heritage adding that most people were no longer doing so but focusing on getting an education then a job later and making money.
She urged Zimbabweans to separate politics from national issues and be proud of who they were.
Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Cde Lazarus Dokora who is also a Zanu-PF Politburo member said the idea was noble.
"Part of the burden of any nation is to foster the participation of citizens in matters that have a bearing in their identity and originality," he said.
Zanu-PF Youth League Secretary Cde Absolom Sikhosana, lauded the idea saying leadership should do more to educate the youth on the history of the country, its culture and heritage.
"Most of us are in the late-afternoon stages of our lives so we need to groom people who will take the baton from us when we depart. The educational system that was there in the recent past did not touch our history accurately.
"The young generation surprisingly knows people from the Western history more than they do our local heroes. They need to know our history. A nation without a history is lost," he said.
Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter Mzembi, said his Ministry was happy with the idea.
"We cannot operate outside the national heritage. When tourists come to Zimbabwe they are coming to connect with our past which is part of our heritage.
"Last year I appointed a National Heritage and Tourism Advisory Council to help us in re-defining the history of the country. The council also has people from NMMZ to demonstrate that we are intricately connected. We are like Siamese twins," said Cde Mzembi.