Birthday Celebrations at 2,100 metres

The National Trust of Zimbabwe (NTZ) celebrated its 60th birthday on 26th August 2020 in a very special place called ‘Worlds View ‘(a NTZ site) located on the western edge of the Nyanga escarpment right next to the magnificent Mount Nyamatoro. It is one of the most spectacular destinations for domestic and international tourists in Zimbabwe.

Guests assembled, mid-morning, in the spring sunlight at a height of 2,100m and gazed down from one of the highest points in the country with panoramic views across the central plateau spread out almost a km below them.

The view from Worlds View

Mr Guy Cary, Chair of Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition (RNHE) Master of Ceremony (MC) officially opened the event by greeting and thanking guests for attending such an auspicious occasion.   Guy gave apologies from Mr David Scott, NTZ Chairman who was sadly unable to attend.

Mr Guy Cary opening the celebrations 

Sharon Waterworth, Vice Chair NTZ, then extended a very warm welcome to everyone present and said that she felt very privileged to be at the celebration being held at one of the most beautiful landmarks of Zimbabwe.   She said that Worlds View sits in amongst an Afromontane community which only occurs above 1,500–2,000 m and talked about the natural landscape: one covered with open grasslands, heathlands, wetlands and natural springs, rare and unique flora and fauna species with a high level of endemism.

Sharon explained that Worlds View is unique in terms of its ancient cultural heritage with sites on the upper slopes of Mount Nyamatoro that date back to the 14th and 15th centuries. The sites consist of early forts, stone walls, paths and enclosures, central pit structures and terraces: all beautifully crafted and utterly intriguing.  She mentioned that on the lower slopes there are sites that have only recently been discovered in 2018: Matrina’s Ruins, Jacok’s Ruins and Rob’s Folly: as tradition dictates, they were named after the gentlemen who unearthed them.

Guests were thanked for taking the time to celebrate the 60th birthday of the NTZ which was established on the 26th August 1960, promulgated by an Act of Parliament with the aim of protecting and managing properties for future generations to enjoy. Sharon invited Mr W.Dhlandhlara to say a traditional payer to bless the event. 

Mr W.Dhlandhlara saying a prayer

Guests were asked to raise their glasses and Sharon proposed a toast: Makorokoto (congratulations) to the NTZ on its 60th birthday! A remarkable achievement! 

                                                                            Guests toasting the NTZ 60th birthday

Sharon went onto explain that NTZ is part of a much larger family network: INTO, a NGO founded in 2007 established to promote the conservation and enhancement of the natural and cultural heritage of all nations for the benefit of the people of the world. INTO represents over 55 million individual members and have countless millions of visitors to sites and properties across more than 25 counties.

NTZ are proud to be members of INTO and hugely grateful for their continued and unwavering support

In 2015 the INTO Africa Group of which NTZ is a full time member. The Africa Group brings together a vibrant network of African Heritage Organisations sharing their ideas and resources, developing a continent-wide voice and promoting and influencing on African cultural heritage matters.

Sharon gave her deepest appreciation to the Executive Council and Regional Committees who work tirelessly (in a voluntary capacity) to manage 7 properties and acknowledged the presence of those present: Fira Bache, Lin Goncalves, Clare Peech, Edone Anne and Aubrey Logan, Gill Honeyman, Merle Moore, Ray and Clutty, Naboth and Josephine Muchopa, June Weeks, Geoff Hawskley, Pat Hallowes and Guy Cary. She also thanked each and every one of the NTZ members.

Sincere thanks went to Gill Honeyman, Chair of Worlds View for more than 10 years, for hosting the event. Gill is always positive, determined, professional, extremely capable and passionate about the NTZ  and is continually striving to improve the visitor experience at the site. Her energy and dedication is a constant source of inspiration.

Sharon expressed grateful thanks to Matrina, Treasurer and the very able and willing resident caretakers: Luke, Arthur, Itai and Mat all of whom work hard to keep the site looking immaculate and Talent was thanked for serving refreshments.

Buffet table with a view                                      Guests enjoying lunch and refreshments under a shady tree

After a most delicious lunch, expertly prepared by Gill, everyone walked over to the veranda next to ‘Gill’s” Art Gallery.

Gills’ Gallery

Much to her surprise Edone was asked to join Sharon on the verandah who then went on to explain  about all the hard work and dedication that she has given to the NTZ over many years.  She said it had been such a real pleasure to work alongside Edone on the Executive Council and from the time the RNHE committee was formed in 2011 until she retired in 2019.

Sharon announced that Edone had certainly put the RNHE on the map and her achievements included  doubling the exhibition floor space, expanding the collection, showcasing work produced by local artisans, assisting to compile the curriculum for heritage education in Zimbabwe,  exhibiting the work of local artists – the re-discovery of Jonathan Matimba’s work was extraordinary- celebrating the 40th anniversary of the RNHE with singing, dancing and food for all, winning an international prize for the best Cultural Heritage Education project  which involved 130 schoolchildren was presented an the INTO conference in Bali,  co-author, with Archaeologist Mr Robert Burrett, of a publication entitled  “Nyanga’s Rich Heritage” an informative booklet promoting the natural beauty of Nyanga and the ancient and modern history of the area and organised numerous interesting and engaging talks on various subjects at the RNHE.

 Edone Ann Logan (second on the left) being presented with a UK National Trust book and a video set by Sharon, Lin Goncalves and Fira Bache

Deepest thanks were also given to Aubrey Logan for all his advice, encouragement, time, knowledge and invaluable assistance and continued good humour. And judging by the many wonderful comments written by visitors to the RHNE Edone and Aubrey have left a legacy and greater knowledge to all, especially to schoolchildren.  The NTZ hopes that you enjoy your retirement to the full!

After the presentation of gifts to Edone Ann, Sharon highlighted that we all having to change and adapt to a new landscape in which we find ourselves living in. Looking ahead she said that the NTZ pledges to keep being just as dynamic and relevant as ever. The challenge is to connect even more people to NTZ priceless historical sites, to their timeless natural wild areas and beauty, built structures and local communities.

She added that NTZ pledges to continue to catalogue scientific information, publish educational and historical material, work with local communities, scale up our cultural heritage, historical and environmental education programmes and through a successful Public, Private Partnership at La Rochelle, build a first class regional Agricultural College.  The vision for Worlds View is to continue with the biological monitoring and recording changes in the flora species and abundance flora and carry on with archaeological research and possibly unearth and protect more archaeological sites.

Guy Cary stepped up and gave a lovely speech in dedication of the late Mr Michael Kimberly (2 May 1934 – 3 January 2020) who was one of the Stalwarts of the NTZ in the early 70’s (see http://ntoz.org/tribute-to-mike-kimberley).  He said that Mike was a wonderful and dedicated supporter of NTZ and he made a great contribution to the success of the organisation.

Tribute to Mr M Kimberley by Guy Cary

Guy explained that Mike graduated at Witwatersrand University in Arts and Law and started practicing Law in Zimbabwe in 1960 and continued working until his retirement in September 2013. He was one of the founding members of the Aloes Cactus and Succulent Society of Zimbabwe in 1969. Guy added that Mike was an extremely determined, professional and thorough legal mind who was also heavily involved in the History Society of Zimbabwe, the Aloe Society among other community and environmental areas.

Afterwards guests gathered inside the gallery and the memorial plaque was unveiled and the formal naming of the ‘Mike Kimberley Room’ (adjacent the gallery) was declared official to much applause.

 The unveiling of the Mike Kimberley memorial plaque by Guy Cary, Sharon Waterworth and Gill Honeyman

Next, guests were invited to the first global screening of the first NTZ video made possible by generous funding by Mr H Leared, produced by Mr N Kuhn, to whom the NTZ is extremely grateful. The video is packed with interesting information about the NTZ and its sites (see http://ntoz.org/the-ntz-celebrates-its-60th-birthday-today).

Sharon then shared two very special birthday greetings:

I write as Chair of INTO to send much love and warm congratulations on the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the National Trust of Zimbabwe. I have to confess that having passed my own 60th birthday, I know from experience that there is a mixture of a pleasant feeling of experience, friendship and knowledge, alongside a sense that one had better finally grow up!

The NT Zimbabwe has achieved so much to be proud of in its 60 years, including a remarkable and beautiful property portfolio, and a range of activities and campaigns through which you stand up for the natural, built and cultural heritage of Zimbabwe.  I was also enormously impressed to learn, at the Bermuda ICNT, of the way in which you are striving to engage diverse communities in your work.

I hope you have a wonderful celebration later this week, and look forward to hearing all about it.  With love and very best wishes from all your friends all around the world.

Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chair, INTO

A video from Catherine Leonard, Secretary-General INTO entitled “Reminisces on the working partnership between INTO and the NTZ” was also shared (see https://into-icnt.org/social-media ) in which Catherine spoke of the friendship between the two organisations that evolved from an INTO conference held in Dublin in 2009.  A year later Oliver Maurice visited Zimbabwe to advise on the NTZ. During his stay he visited Worlds View, La Rochelle and RNHE and as he was so impressed INTO organised for Karen Dicken, People Project Manager at The National Trust, Plymouth, United Kingdom to go to Zimbabwe during which time she compiled a Management Plan for La Rochelle. Catherine went on to say that over the years the partnership had grown and facilitated projects such as assisting a Youth Programme in association with like-minded organisations in Sierra Leone and Uganda, and establishing the NTZ website. She ended by wishing the NTZ another 60 successful years.

The finale of a wonderful day of events was the cutting of a scrumptious 60th cake iced with the signature colours of the NTZ.

 Mr Willie Dhlandhlara cutting the cake with Sharon Waterworth, Gill Honeyman and Guy Cary

It was a memorable occasion!

A video capturing the highlights of the event has been posted on the NTZ facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/National-Trust-of-Zimbabwe. If you enjoy it, please like and share the page. Thank you very much.

Birthday wishes from INTO Members.

Catherine Leonard has very kindly posted birthday wishes and cards received from the global INTO family that we would like to share with you, please see: https://into-icnt.org/social-media.

Thank you for reading this article.

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