Friday, September 17, 2021
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Great Zimbabwe gets half a million dollars from USA



Brighton Chiseva

The Great Zimbabwe monuments will be a better
place to visit after the United States (US) embassy, through the Ambassador’s
Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) injected a total of US$475 000 towards
the cause on Tuesday.
US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols and
World Monuments Fund director Stephen Battle and the National Museums and
Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) executive director Godfrey Mahachi were in
Masvingo to seal the deal.
Speaking at the event, Nichols said the US was
keen to help Zimbabwe preserve its heritage sites so that they could be enjoyed
by future generations of the country.
He said the donation will help to maintain the
stone walls in their natural state and fight the invasive plant lantana camara
which is spreading rapidly in the area.
“We wanted to work on preserving the impressive
dry walls and to ensure that the monuments stand as majestic as they are now
for generations to come. We will partner Zimbabwe for the preservation of other
sites throughout the country,” said Nichols.
He further said the US provided about US$200
million to Zimbabwe in the areas of culture, adding that he believed the latest
gesture was a good seed that will geminate and help future generations.
The Minister of State for Provincial Affairs
Ezra Chadzamira applauded the US for the donation, saying he felt greatly
honoured to be associate with the
He said Great Zimbabwe was the cradle of
Zimbabwe’s national heritage from where Zimbabweans derive great pride.
“We had a dream as Zimbabweans, our dream lies
in the restoration of the Great Zimbabwe monuments to their historic and
symbolic status. Our identity as a nation is derived from it. Great Zimbabwe
was the world trade centre attracting merchants from as far as Asia, Europe and
US.
“Your Excellency, your intervention to
rehabilitate Great Zimbabwe monuments is therefore equally symbolic. Whilst
many see financial materials and technological inflows, I see the revival of
our tourism through the increasing volumes of domestic and international
visitors. I equally see the same visitors looking for investment opportunities,
with our government improving infrastructure like roads, airports, hotels. The
impact of your assistance, therefore, goes beyond what eyes can see today,”
Chadzamira said.
On his part, Battle said the programme will
help bring in new expertise to do investigations for better preservation of the
heritage site.
Mahachi, in his own comments, said the fund
will go a long way in controlling lantana camara, increasing conversation on
the monuments as well as building greater capacity to preserve the site.
“The fund will be put into use as soon as
possible by finding new methods of removing lantana camara and preserving the
stone walls,” said Mahachi.
NMMZ southern region director, Lovemore Mandima
expressed delight at the developments which he said will improve management of
the monuments.
“We are really happy and we will start
implementing right away. We will follow all accounting procedures and reporting
systems to make sure that the money is not abused. We have experience in
managing such funds for we have received other grants before, though smaller
than this one,” said Mandima.
Also present at the event was Chief Murinye,
Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo,
Reformed Church University (RCU) Vice Chancellor and Professor Obert
Maravanyika.
Before the signing ceremony, Nichols took time
to tour Masvingo Provincial Hospital to get an appreciation of the challenges
of the only referral hospital in the region. He also toured Great Zimbabwe
monuments.

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