By Nimrod Ushe
Bulawayo – Mandwandwe High School toured Nkulumane Provincial Heroes Acre on a mission to comprehend Advanced Level Heritage Studies.
The advanced level class was assisted by the National Museum and Monument of Zimbabwe (NMMZ), Education Officer Mr. Mgcini Dube, and the site custodian Mr. Gentlemen Maseko.
Mr. Dube narrated the history of the country’s provincial heroes’ acres in his opening remarks.
“The idea of creating provincial heroes acres in this country was borrowed from Russia. Each of the ten provinces in Zimbabwe has a heroes acre,” Mr. Dube said.
He said the first person to be buried at Nkulumane Provincial Heroes was Reader Ncube on 23 December 1993 and the last hero, Albert Ncube, was buried on 4 May 2021″.
The Nkulumane Provincial Heroes Acre was established around the 1990s after rigorous consultation from the war veterans of the Second Chimurenga/ Umvukela (1966-1980).
According to oral tradition, Nkulumane has a symbolic significance to the Ndebele tribe as a resting place after their long journeys of the Nguni Incursions (the 1830s).
The site custodian indicated that the location of the site is significant since it is located near the Pumula suburb which literally means resting.
Interestingly, the late Father Zimbabwe Joshua Nkomo wanted to be buried at Nkulumane Provincial Heroes Acre.
“The late Joshua Nkomo wanted to be buried at Isidwadwa which is along the road to his home area,” Maseko said.
The Nkulumane Provincial Heroes Acre is crucially important for understanding Zimbabwe’s Second Chimurenga/Umvukela – the liberation struggle of (1966 -1980).
Dube said, ” Nkulumane Provincial Heroes Acre help us Zimbabweans to understand the people who sacrificed their lives for liberating us from British colonizers. The graves at the site serve as a testimony that heroes of Zimbabwe once fought for this country. ”
Moreover, the Nkulumane Provincial Heroes Acre helps the born-free generation to meditate about the Second Chimurenga/ Umvukela war.
Apart, from the 953 graves, there is an interpretive center at the site. The interpretation and presentation are aimed at providing a sanctuary for the visitors where they can reflect, learn and appreciate the liberation struggle and values attached to that provincial shrine.
Additionally, there is an exhibition designed and mounted in a manner that stimulates emotions, provokes the mind, and shapes perceptions of the liberation struggle.
Unfortunately, Mandwandwe High School learners did not manage to tour all the intended graves because of overgrowth vegetation.
Mr. Dube urged the Mandwandwe High School to adopt Nkulumane Provincial Heroes Acre to use it as a teaching aid during their Heritage Studies.
Moreso, by adopting the Nkulumane Heroes Acre as their site, learners will be assisting heritage practitioners in preserving and conserving the place.
Mr. Dube said adopting a site is an initiative that helps heritage managers with human input during cleaning exercise of heritage sites.