Zimbabwe: Govt Accords Bulawayo's 'Hanging Tree' National Monument Status

The Home Affairs Ministry is planning to accord a Bulawayo tree, which was used by the colonialists to hang Africans, national monument status.

The tree, situated between Connaught and Masotsha Ndlovu avenues in the second capital city, was used during the first Umvukela/Ndebele uprising in 1896.

At that time nine African men, who were found guilty by the white settlers for spying, were hanged.

The Bulawayo City Council last month received a letter from the National Museum and Monuments of Zimbabwe seeking permission from the local authority to upgrade the site into a national monument.

"National Museum and Monuments of Zimbabwe at the request of the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Cde Kazembe Kazembe is in the process of nominating the Hanging Tree in Bulawayo to become a national monument," the letter, addressed to Bulawayo City director for Housing Dictor Khumalo, reads in part.

"The tree which is situated between Connaught and Masotsha Ndlovu avenues is of historical importance as it was used during the height of the first Umvuka/Ndebele uprising in 1896 to hang nine African men found guilty by the settlers' leaders for spying for Ndebele against occupation of the land.

"The upgrading of the site into a national monument is being done as an effort to recognise the contributions of the First Chimurenga as part of the liberation heritage in the country. The upgrading of the site into a national monument will see the site being given national recognition. We, therefore, ask for consent in the declaration of the site into a national monument," the letter continues.

The Bulawayo City Council has already given the government the green light to declare the site as a national monument.

"The department (Housing and Community Services), Chamber Secretary and Financial Services departments had no objection to the request by the National Museum and Monuments of Zimbabwe in declaring the site and tree as a national monument. This would go a long way in preserving the site which was of great political and historical significance. The declaration of the site might result in accrual of economic benefits as the place would be a centre of attraction and it would most likely bring revenue to the city from tourism-related activities," the council wrote in response.

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