Bulawayo is 120 years old in June 2014!!
- 27/5/2014 <--Prev : Next-->
BULAWAYO city is set to celebrate 120 years of existence in June this year.
On the 1st of June 2014, Bulawayo will celebrate 120 years of existence after the city attained town status and had its advisory board set up in 1894.
The City Fathers are delighted that the city had grown from humble beginnings as the Royal Kraal of King Lobengula to a metropolitan city.
'This is a milestone in our history and we are delighted to be able to celebrate our achievements. Bulawayo has grown from the royal kraal of King Lobengula to a metropolitan city,' said the city's Acting Mayor. As the city celebrates 120 years of growth, my council and I take great pleasure in being part of Bulawayo's celebration of its past, present and future.'A progressive city and a force to reckon with.'
Bulawayo held its centenary celebrations in 1994.
As part of the commemorations to mark Bulawayo's 120 years of existence historian Pathisa Nyathi hopes to bring us snippets from life in the city in the days gone by. The focus though will be on the African townships and the experiences of their inhabitants. There are several people alive today who experienced life in those early days. 'We shall seek interviews with such people so that they share their experiences with those of us who were not privy to the goings on in Bulawayo during those eventful days', said Pathisa.
Here we are thinking of themes such as recreation and entertainment, sport, in particular Highlanders Football Club, education, health, spirituality/religion, trade unionism, nationalist politics and white reaction to the same, urban guerrilla operations, industries and many others.
King Lobengula's capital was KoBulawayo.
The first settlement which served as King Lobengula's capital was KoBulawayo (now being referred to as Old Bulawayo) located near a long snaking hill called eNyokeni. It was not far from Hope Fountain. The establishment of a new capital was in line with Ndebele traditions. A new king did not occupy the same settlement where his father lived. It was believed the protective charms used to fortify the settlement would weigh heavily on the new monarch, with disastrous consequences on his person.
The initial stages in the establishment of a new site were fortification of both the new king and his capital town. Accordingly, King Lobengula underwent a period of seclusion during which he was being fortified and counselled in the intricacies and etiquette of ruling and leading his father's people.
That initial stage saw the king living with a limited number of people. Only when the counselling, fortification and construction of the new settlement were done with, did other people join the royal household within the Royal Enclosure and the Peripheral Enclosure.
The royal settlement had to be protected, both physically and metaphysically. The Royal Enclosure had a double-walled stockade made from mopane logs fetched a long distance from the site. The Peripheral Enclosure extended right around the Royal Enclosure where the King and his household lived. Within the Royal Enclosure there were royal queens, sons and daughters of the king. There was also the senior induna, Magwegwe Fuyana and some helpers within the Royal Palace, notably Sihuluhulu Mabhena and Sivalo Mahlangu, the son of Mveleleni. There were other personal attendants of the king such as the doctors, praise singers and several others.
The Peripheral Enclosure completely surrounded the Royal Enclosure. The entire area was within two stockades. This was the first frontline in the physical protection of the king.
Further out there was a circle of villages that constituted isiphika, the hood. In dress terms the hood is worn over the shoulders or around the neck. More importantly, it surrounds the head, here symbolising the capital town.
In addition an historic exhibition commemorating the 120th anniversary of the city of Bulawayo opened at the National History Museum in Bulawayo on Thursday.
This is one of the many activities lined up by the city to celebrate the historic milestone.
The opening of the exhibition titled, 'Bulawayo at 120 years' coincided with the Museum Golden Jubilee celebrations.
Bulawayo's history and its growth into a great industrial centre and one of the country's main tourist attractions shows the residents' desire and commitment to growth and development. This historic display therefore takes pride in the various milestones of Bulawayo as we trace down the city's timeline.
The past 120 years have been full of adventure and events which have contributed to the present day Bulawayo. It has been marked by certain landmarks which also include the natural history museum which coincidentally celebrates its 50th anniversary in existence in Bulawayo.'
The exhibition runs until the end of the year.
The executive director of National Museums and Monuments, Dr Godfrey Mahachi, in his speech marking the 50th anniversary of the museum, chronicled its history since it was first mooted in 1901.
'In 1901 when Cecil John Rhodes visited Bulawayo for the last time he received two requests, the first from the Chamber of Mines to appoint a geologist and the second from the Rhodesia Scientific Board who wanted a museum to house their growing collection minerals. On 1st of January 1902 the Rhodesia Museum came into being,' said Dr Mahachi.
On 20 March 1964, fifty years ago, the Natural History Museum officially opened its doors to the public but completion of new public and individual displayed has continued up to the present time. It is an impressive circular building, and with its stunning displays and value bale research collections it is the best museum in Southern Africa.