The Sunday News
Sharon Chimenya, Masvingo Correspondent
THE envisaged development of the recently commissioned project of the upgrading of the Great Zimbabwe Monuments will unlock the full potential of the site and result in increased tourists inflows.
The Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Cde Kazembe Kazembe, said the infrastructural development at the site will increase the number of visitors and generate more benefits for the community. He said that the spirituality aspect of the monuments is one of the important criteria on which Great Zimbabwe was designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site and the architecture and attendant ecstatic values have remained the primary object for tourism and introspective research.
“While the tourism potential of the site is apparent, feasibility studies carried out by the French Development Agency (AFD) demonstrated that the site remains underutilised in terms of its potential and its contribution to community sustenance. Improvement in infrastructure and an aggressive marketing strategy will generate more visitor inflows and increased domestic tourism which will also benefit downstream industries,” he said last week.
He said that development of the site which will include the improvement of the infrastructure and the community empowerment resonates well with the dictates of the National Development Strategic (NDS1).
Cde Kazembe said that his ministry was working on ensuring that people benefit from the heritage sites and that through the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe, the ministry will work very closely with the AFD to ensure that the project is implemented in a manner that preserves the site’s outstanding universal values.
“My ministry, through the NMMZ has developed a Monuments Development Strategy, which aims to make heritage work for the people. For instance, in re-developing the Pupu National Monument in Matabeleland North, we have also provided to the surrounding community, amenities and facilities such as clean running water and a clinic. In the same vein, my ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, has developed the Tongogara Memorial Monument, in Mozambique, which also has a clinic that will benefit the local Mozambican community.
“Similarly, the biggest beneficiary of the AFD-funded project here at Great Zimbabwe, will be the surrounding communities who are set to benefit from sustainable human activities which, though contributing to the authenticity of the site, will generate economic opportunities for the local people. This will be achieved through the development of Cultural Tourism, improved craft products and training in environmental management for sustainable community development.”
Meanwhile, Chief Murinye born Ephias Munodawafa said the project was very important to them as the locals as they were not able to derive benefits from the site that was constructed by their fore fathers.
“The programme that has been launched by the President is very important to us as the local chiefs. The President has said that our ancestors were smarter than most whites in the world but us the descendants, have not been able to derive any benefit from this wisdom. The French since the beginning of the project have been consulting us on how the communities can benefit from this. Chief Mugabe, Chief Charumbira and I, Chief Murinye spoke in agreement the ways in which our local people can gain a living from this project.”
President Mnangagwa last week launched the three million Euro Great Zimbabwe Development Project for the rehabilitation and development of the World Heritage Site.