VOL 1 OF 2016





In an attempt to make life easier for you and to give you more choice, we are pleased to tell you that you can now renew your membership, during normal working hours, at the Acumen office located at 28 Kent Road, Highlands, Harare, mobile number  0778 072 140.


Membership 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016

Harare: 110 members

Mutare: 72 members

Nyanga: 25 members

World’s View: 1

Total: 208 members.

Membership and reciprocity

Members, please do not forget that you are welcome at the Tree Society meetings, as well as Birdlife Zimbabwe meetings/outings following our reciprocity agreements with both Societies. The two Societies newsletters will also be forwarded to our NTZ members.



 LA ROCHELLE: Official re-opening of the La Rochelle property – Wednesday 9th March 2016

 As part of the World Heritage day celebrations the National Trust of Zimbabwe marked the day early with the re-launch of the La Rochelle estate which afforded an opportunity to raise the public's awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it.

 This event was attended by a number of invited guests including local dignitaries, Chief Mutasa, Headmen and Village Heads, CEO of the Mutasa RDC, Mr George Bandure, Mr Dhliwayo the District Administrator, Councillors from the Mutare and Mutasa Rural District Councils, members of the local community including business and tourism, the Chair of Literature and History from Africa University, members of the NTZ Executive committee from Harare, and Directors of the La Rochelle Centre.  The re-launch of the hotel was held in the well-appointed brand-new conference centre where people gathered for morning tea and cakes. The tables were decorated with exotic orchids all expertly grown all at La Rochelle. Mr Kevin Martin, (the Estate Manager), welcomed everyone and then took the party for a tour of the recently renovated house and gardens.

 After canapes and refreshments there were opening speeches by Mr Kutywayo (the Councillor for Ward 22), Mr Luke Ngwerume (a Director of the La Rochelle Centre), and Ms Sharon Waterworth, the Vice Chair of the NTZ.


Sharon Waterworth, Vice Chair of the NTZ

 Here are some excerpts from Sharon’s welcoming speech:

“As your invitation said: we are honoured to have your presence to mark this occasion: the re-opening of the hotel after the re-furbishment and re-branding of the house and of the gardens and we look forward to showing you in more detail what we have achieved and what we plan to achieve going forward. Today is an opportune time for the re-launch as some of you may know World Heritage Day is marked on the 18th April so we are celebrating it early!”

After outlining the aims and objectives of the NTZ Sharon explained that “the NTZ does not receive any funding and so we have to source our own funding, we are doing this by collecting rentals, annual membership subscriptions, donations and bequests, admission charges to properties, hire charges for the use of facilities and grounds, and the proceeds of sales of nursery plants and cut flowers”.  She said: “I can tell you quite honestly that it is not easy to manage 7 properties like this, it’s a challenge.

The NTZ is part of a much larger family: called the INTO which is a NGO group 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 has close links with organizations such as: UNESCO, UNEP, ICOMOS, IUCN and Europa Nostra. Currently, INTO represents about 55 million individual members and countless millions of visitors to sites and properties across more than 25 counties.

The NTZ manages a mixture of 7, some built ones and some natural environment, properties, with the help of its Executive Council and various Regional Committees, all of whom are volunteers.

Today, historical properties globally now have to earn their keep and still be kept open to the public, they can’t just be preserved any more. I am very proud to announce that the NTZ has entered into a ground-breaking Public Private Partnership to be seen in Zimbabwe, where the NTZ has collaborated with private players to ensure the sustainability of the property and to expand its facilities and use of resources.

Together with Acumen we developed short, medium and long term strategies, to raise the necessary funding and retain the necessary skills to help achieve both the initial Courtauld vision of La Rochelle while adapting the estate to the economic and educational realities of 21st century Africa. I am happy to report that that vision is becoming a reality as you will see for yourself later today the tangible outcomes that we have implemented so far. I just know that you are going to be impressed.

Heritage is important and NTZ is all about inclusive heritage and education, for all Zimbabwe and global citizens and visitors. We have already undertaken education projects on heritage for all school children this was implemented at Nyanga Historical Museum and we are planning cultural educational interpretive facilities at Mabukawene in Bulawayo and Murahwa’s Hill in Mutare.

The NTZ continues to develop working relationships with other organisations such as National Museums Monuments Zimbabwe and National Gallery of Zimbabwe and societies such as Tree Life, Bird Life, History Society, Reps Theatre and Orchid Society that will help us in promoting Zimbabwe Heritage and sustainable environmental education such as is planned right here at LAa Rochelle.

The NTZ are considering the possibility of hosting a pan-African meeting in Zimbabwe in 2 years’ time, that we hope would be held at La Rochelle, when we will work closely with other stakeholders and welcome visitors to our country.  The NTZ is working hard for you to enjoy”. 

Heritage is precious: treasure it”

Luke Ngwerume, Director of the LRC addressing dignitaries

Invited guests on a guided tour of the Estate with Kevin Martin

Lounge at La Rochelle restored with renovated furniture in keeping with the original style

PHOTO CREDIT: Sheena Ewart


“Of great interest are the signatures on the lounge windows that were signed with a diamond-tipped stylus by about 900 distinguished guests who had been invited to La Rochelle over many years by the Courtaulds - they included important local and overseas people from all walks of life, as well as Governors and influential liberal politicians, artists, musicians, and film stars, in addition to their family members; these windows are therefore of great historical importance.  For the past two years work has been in progress (initiated by Heather White of Australia, and thereafter by Nina Bauer of Mutare) to decipher and list these signatures and to record who they were”. (Below)


The Dell At La Rochelle, created and developed by Sir Stephen Courtauld, an area of the Estate very dear to Sir Stephen's heart.

One of the beautiful dendrobiums in full bloom in the new shade houses

A graceful and delicate Cattleya


The orchid houses, shade houses and nursery area, given a much-needed and long-awaited face-lift and looking lovely! Thanks to the untiring efforts of Jannie and Kevin Martin and their dedicated team of gardeners and volunteers.

Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhbition

The last report from the RNHE took the form of the Final Report on the Cultural Education Heritage Project held last year.  The report concluded with an outline of the plans for a final celebration of both the end of the project and the 40th Anniversary of the Opening of the RNHE (or Rhodes Museum as it was then called).   This event took place on 28th November 2015 in the National Park. During her welcoming speech Edone Logan, Chair of the RNHE, said that the Project would not have been possible without financial assistance from INTO, the SOLON Foundation and NTZ, and the support of National Parks and Rhodes Hotel.  A large exhibit of children’s project work – stone sculptures, clay pots, writing, art-work and models – was on display in the wagon shed, and as each group arrived they toured the Museum and examined the exhibit. A large collection of photographs taken during the sessions was compiled by the organizers.  This entire display has been moved to the Petheram Loft for public viewing.               

Pupils and teachers, members of the Zuwa Weavers Co-op, the pottery teacher and the sculptors from the Nyanga Craft Village were all bussed to the Park in kombies organized by Mr. Dhlandhlara and the teachers. (The Committee was dismayed to find that not one of these children or adults had ever visited the Park before the commencement of the Project.)  After refreshments, everyone was ushered to the historic Rhodes Hall where the children were able to run down to the Rhodes Dam, and play in the playground.  All then assembled in the Hall, short speeches were made and each school presented, from the stage, entertainment in the form of drama, recitation, singing or dancing.  Every project participant was awarded a handsome certificate and the three schools were each given a large world map and set of Scrabble to keep in their Culture Hut at school.

The Traditional Meal, organized by Mr. Dhlandhlara with support from Mr. Bepe was excellent! The catering team (see photographs) prepared the delicious meal for 180 people with sufficient for some to take a little home! A happy and successful event altogether – thanks to everyone involved. Special mention must be made of the six teachers on the team; they were delightful to work with and to get to know.  Professionals of a high caliber.  Curator, Marshall Nyanhanda gave invaluable support to the Project and we commend him for his input.

Two other exciting news items of interest to the Council:

i)  National Parks has provided the Museum with its own ablution block!  This was desperately needed as all visitors have had to use the Hotel facilities in the past.  Our gratitude to Rhodes Hotel for accommodating our visitors for so many years! Thanks too, to the committee members involved in erecting an attractive wooden screen, and azalea plants to give some privacy.

ii)   Mr. Dhlandhlara and Mr. Funk of the SOLON Foundation have donated a new COMPUTER to RNHE!  I need not enlarge on the difference this will make to the efficient administration of the Museum.  Our deep gratitude goes to SOLON.

From top – Nyamuka Primary School firing their pots, and top right - pupils from Zuvarabuda learning to sculpt, and below - students from Nyangani High have sculpting lessons from Nyanga Craft Centre Sculptors.

Top: Annie Wilkes, Co-Organiser of the project and Above – Sculptors from the Nyanga Craft Village

From top  – National Parks catering ladies preparing the delicious lunch; pupils and teachers participating in the project; pupils learn to hand-spin; and pupils from Nyangani High learn from Zuwa Weavers.

Members of Zuwa Weavers with the NTZ Nyanga’s very own

hard-working, committed, dedicated Edone-Logan, Chairperson of the RNHE Committee!! Bravo Edone and a big THANK YOU from all of the NTZ!!!!




We have had some really inspiring feedback from recent visitors to Worlds View, saying how thrilled they had been to see the vast improvements to the site!

Also from FRENCH visitors who are resident in China (Guangzhou) who recently visited RNHE and Worlds View, followed by breakfast at La Rochelle, who were also absolutely enchanted by everything they saw, they even climbed to the top of Mount Inyangani with their little daughter!

Did you know that the mobile phone signal from the top of the mountain is exceptional (Econet and NetOne). So get up there and ‘phone home, and say ‘guess where I am?

Site improvements at Worlds View and Fiora-Edmee, who lives in Guangzhou and speaks fluent French, Mandarin and Cantonese! Her English is pretty perfect too! I am sure she will go home to China and back to school with lots to tell her friends!!!!



We have some exciting news on this property, the NTZ is almost ready to conclude an agreement with the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ), whereby the NMMZ is ready to proclaim Murahwa’s Hill as a National Monument.   The NMMZ will assist the NTZ in administering this site with the NTZ remaining as the property’s owner with legal title. The proclamation will afford further protection for the site.


An Interpretive Educational Centre is planned for this property. The Centre will highlight and bring to the attention of the Zimbabwe public the significant Cultural Heritage and History of this site. The NMMZ will also participate together with the Ministry of Education. We are working hard on securing funding for this project.  Please do get in touch if you have any suggestions as to how we can achieve this.




Exciting news, the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe recently visited Mabukuwene in order to look at an Ndebele site that was freshly unearthed by Mr Rob Burrett, a local archaeologist and historian. 


Work continues on cutting down the highly invasive weed Lantana camara that has beengrowing prolifically at the site.  Much of the litter in the Meikles section has been picked up and the dump next to path has been covered. The entrance gate is now being locked at night for security purposes. As a result of all this hard work local residents are coming back to enjoy the site.

But, the old internal stone and clay walls built by Thomas Meikle with his own hand need some repair. In a number of places they have collapsed as shown below. One section collapsed earlier this year after a 25mm rainstorm.


The main entrance wall (stone and cement) is seriously leaning. We are endeavouring to find funding to repair the walls.




Africa Regional Forum

Last year the NTZ was actively involved in establishing the Africa Regional Forum of which we are a full time member. The new INTO Africa group brings together a vibrant network of African Heritage Organisations that will share ideas and resources, develop a continent-wide voice, promote and influence on African cultural heritage matters.  We are looking forward to being involved in this new forum and all that may happen because of it.


World Heritage Day: Celebrating the world's built cultural heritage

UNESCO established 18 April as the International Day for Monuments and Sites in 1983. World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind. Protecting and preserving this valuable asset demands the collective efforts of the international community. This special day offers an opportunity to raise the public's awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it, as well as draw attention to its vulnerability


As part of the World Heritage day celebrations the NTZ marked the day early with the re-launch of the La Rochelle estate.  

4. Both our FACEBOOK page and website are quite active with up to date news and photographs, and we encourage those of you with FACEBOOK to like us.

 If you are visiting any National Trust properties, please be generous with photographs of your visit and share them with us for inclusion on our Facebook page or website with names and comments! If you have the time and are able to print an A4 sheet with “THIS PLACE MATTERS” on it, we would love to get them.