Government has started upgrading and rehabilitating cultural and heritage sites around the country to boost tourism and stimulate economic growth as envisioned under the recently launched National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
Besides rehabilitation of old sites, new such sites will also be established in other parts of the country under a spirited drive to engender socio-economic growth in line with Vision 2030.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe yesterday said development of cultural and heritage sites will entail opening community archives to document and preserve information about the nation's key heritage and cultural sites for the benefit of progeny.
In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy Cde Mike Madiro during the official opening of the ZCC Mutendi community archive at the church's headquarters at Mbungo Estates, Minister Kazembe said documenting and recording of community heritage was key in fostering development.
The ZCC Mutendi community archive, the third such centre in the history of post independent Zimbabwe after the inaugural one at Arcturus High School (Mashonaland East) and Girls High School (Harare), was developed by the church with assistance from National Archives of Zimbabwe (NAZ).
NAZ developed the centre under Government's 100-day project drive.
It contains documents and records about ZCC Mutendi from its founding by the late Bishop Samuel Mutendi in 1913 to the present day, with emphasis on key milestones and moments along the church's journey.
Minister Kazembe said community archives would not only benefit tourists, but also research work by academics for the good of the country's future.
"Under NDS1, my ministry is also charged with the responsibility of establishing and equipping new cultural and heritage centres, as well as the rehabilitation of existing ones," said Minister Kazembe.
"In this vein, efforts are underway to revamping some dilapidated heritage sites, as well as creating new ones across the country."
Minister Kazembe said some of such centres will soon be unveiled at Pupu Shrine in Lupane and Old Bulawayo.
He hailed successful collaboration between NAZ and ZCC Mutendi, which he noted was key for sustainable and inclusive development in line with Vision 2030.
Minister Kazembe said the ZCC Mutendi community archive was conceived in 2018 and captured the church's rich history dating back to its founding, saying the development would embolden its position as a heritage tourism shrine.
Other indigenous churches were urged to take a cue from ZCC Mutendi and set up similar community archive to preserve their history for the benefit of future generations.
ZCC Mutendi leader, Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi, hailed the close co-operation between his church and President Mnangagwa's Government in the implementation of projects with a bearing on the socio-economic welfare of the majority.
Bishop Mutendi compared Zimbabwe and his church's history, noting there were similarities, especially on that both were established on the foundation of struggle and challenges that had to be overcome.
ZCC Mutendi church's shadow looms large in the socio-economic matrix of Masvingo province and the nation at large owing to the key role played by the church to promote development in line with Vision 2030.
The church has already blazed the trail by developing an agro-industrial park whose foundation was launched by President Mnangagwa in August this year with the objective of making sure adjacent communities achieve food sufficiency in line with the thrust to make Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy within the next decade.