The Sunday News
CECIL John Rhodes is known to have loved to go and sit on top of the hill which he renamed “The view of the world” where he was later buried in the Matobo Hills.
At that place he would be served his breakfast and also go and watch the sunset and he is known to have said that whenever he was at that place, he would be immensely inspired such that all the puzzle pieces of his plans would fall snuggly into place. It seems he did not wish for such an amazing opportunity to ever end, hence his request to be buried there.
Whether we like Rhodes or not, is beside the point. The issue here is that there are certain environments that inspire, that facilitate “the light bulb moment”. Tourism provides vast opportunities for enlightenment and education.
It takes learning outside the school premises thereby making the world your classroom, something very critical especially in the learning of children. While books and teachers are good, personal experience definitely teaches better.
Visiting various places of interest enables people to discover new things about the world around them and even about themselves. It is a means of learning about other people and how they do things. These learnt lessons can be used to enrich the lives of the observers.
Places such as museums, national parks and monuments are invaluable resource centres for the education of children. When people both old and young, visit such places, they need to programme themselves to extract the vast knowledge embedded in such natural and cultural heritage.
Historical monuments such as Great Zimbabwe, Worlds’ View, Ziwa, Khami, National and Provincial Heroes Acres provide tangible evidence of the historical narrative contained in books and oral traditions.
The tours to industrial sites and such facilities as power generation plants will give children the appreciation of production processes and equipment. This may generate an interest in understanding more about the phenomenon, which in turn will inspire career choice.
If our education is to be more effective in equipping scholars with useful knowledge that shapes a person, it needs to embrace tourism as a vital enhancer. The new school curriculum in Zimbabwe has incorporated heritage studies as a study area. This is a welcome development which can go a long way in fostering self-identity, pride and sound ideology.
However, the method of delivery for such studies cannot be effective if it is limited to theory in the classroom. Pupils should be physically exposed to the heritage where possible. This can help inspire production of services and products that reflect African heritage in design and presentation.
Perhaps having recognised the significance of tourism and its impact through personal experience, Cecil Rhodes then wrote in his will that he wanted part of his estate to be constituted into a game park “for the recreation of the people of Bulawayo from Saturday to Monday”.
There are numerous lessons that can be derived from stories told of past characters both heroic and villainous. Visiting tombs, shrines and homes of past luminaries can inspire people to be the best versions of themselves. When Cecil Rhodes visited the tomb of the great King Mzilikazi, he exclaimed that he wished he had lived in the same era with such a great man. Lessons can also be learnt from observing nature.
Plants and wild animals are fascinating and inspiring. Great ideas can be spawned from observing their social behaviours, special adaptations and their responses to various environmental factors. To date, amazing technological innovations such as aircraft designs have been inspired by biotic prototypes such as birds and insects.
Zimbabwe is rich in natural and cultural heritage and as such people should go out there, learn, enjoy and be inspired. Schools, churches, families and individuals should make it a habit to visit places of interest but they should never go back without gleaning precious lessons from whatever attraction they would have visited.
Phineas Chauke is a Tourism Consultant, Marketer and Tour Guide. He can be contacted on mobile: 0776058523 email: [email protected]