May I begin with a complimentary paragraph taken from a report written by Archeologist/Teacher/Historian/Editor, Mr Rob Burrett, after a visit to RNHE and World’s View in April, 2017.
“Since my last visit in April 2014 the RNHE has expanded by leaps and bounds, both in quantity of material displayed and the quality of its content. It is becoming one of the more important historical depositories in the country. The team that has put it together must be commended for an excellent job. I was delighted to see the large number of visitors who were there the day I visited it (Easter Saturday 15th April 2017). It was diverse in ethnicity and age. The interest being shown by the African population is especially gratifying. We hope that this will encourage them to become more actively involved as this heritage belongs to us all and their engagement will ensure the long-term viability of the project”… We thank Rob for this encouragement and advice, and financial assistance when most needed.
Over the past year we have had two visits from Mr Scott and NTZ Councillors, all of whom have been helpful and supportive throughout. In June Dr. Jonathan Zilberg, an authority on the history of Shona Sculpture , visited Nyanga and spoke to members of the Committee on the well-known Nyanga Sculptors of the last century. We were able to visit the homes of these men and meet family members. This has led to an offer by the son of one sculptor to let us use some of his father’s work to display in the museum.
Dr. Jonathan Zilberg
Another important visitor was Dr Ines Grainger who came to view the Don Grainger Reading and Research Room, and tour the Exhibition. Dr Grainger was happy with the freshly painted Room and mended ceiling, kindly renovated by Parks.
Dr. Ines Grainger chats with Curator Marshall Nyanhanda
In June Rob Burrett again spent time in the area, partly assisted by SOLON Foundation, undertaking field work at some isolated Nyanga schools, and speaking to teachers and senior students on the importance of their cultural heritage. He was able to explore heritage sites and give advice on protecting the sites.
Archaeologist Rob Burrett discusses a field trip to pit structures in Cumberland Valley with Johnny Stockdale
Recently the focus of our Committee has changed slightly from purely improving and enlarging the Historical Exhibition, to encouraging Cultural Heritage projects in local schools. We were delighted in November when a presentation of our 2015 heritage project was made by NTZ at the International National Trust Conference in Bali, and was voted the best project! This encouraged us to participate in a Cross-borders Heritage Project with Uganda and Sierra Leone, which involved school children using their cell phones to take short video clips of any heritage or traditional activity. This was well supported by the schools, and thanks to a crowd- funding appeal through INTO, we were able to give monitory prizes to individuals and Heritage Clubs which produced the best videos.
The most important and challenging display undertaken by the Committee last year was the Zimbabwe Time Line. All Members participated, each researching a 30-year period, and we now have on display 5 periods from BC until 1980. The last period – 1980 to the present day, has been researched and written up for us by the teachers and pupils of the History Department of St. Monica’s High School. We are looking forward to completing the Time Line with this excellent conclusion.
Josephine Machopa displaying the 1920 – 1950 timeline June Weeks, Dalray Bailey and Merle Moore working on the Zimbabwe Timeline
Naboth Machopa Organising the 1950-1980 display
Great interest is being shown already by the many school children who visit the museum.
Two young visitors in the Children’s section Visiting students in front of the Victorian section
Various displays have been moved and up-dated. A section on saddelry and horses is being created with donations from members of the community. More valuable books have been donated to the Reading Room. We are grateful to all members of public who give interesting and historic articles to display.
The RNHE signage has been renewed, thanks to NTZ. The garden is looking lovely with new lavender replacing the old plants, plumbago flowering well outside the wagon shed, protea planted in the beds and generally a good make-over by Dal Bailey.
Before closing this report I wish to express my appreciation to Mrs Merle Moore, Vice-Chairman, who is holding the reins this year, organising special events with the support of the Committee Members and dealing with problems, correspondence and the general running of the museum. Marshall Nyanhanda is keeping the exhibits, buildings and wash-rooms clean and tidy and also dealing with the visitors, including large groups of school children, extremely well. Mr Geoff Hawksley holds the purse strings and somehow manages to pay our monthly expenses in this difficult financial climate.
To each and every Member and Ex-Officio Member, I wish to express sincere gratitude for your support and friendship – and hard work.
Edone A Logan.