APRIL 2022

Quite a bit of news in this our first newsletter of 2022 and as usual apologies for the late start!

We would like to welcome new Committee members, already actively engaged in helping out tremendously where needed! A big hand to them – Dot Cozens, Sue Aylen and Eng Jackson Njunga.

If any of our Members feel they can contribute in any way, we would be most delighted to see you coming forward! Please watch this space for the Notice of our AGM, at which you will be more than welcome and should you wish to put your name forward for nomination on the Committee of the National Trust of Zimbabwe, we will be happy to have you on board!
A reminder that Membership subs are due for the year 2022/23. A years subscription as a gift for a Zimbabwean resident visiting the United Kingdom will enable them to enjoy FREE entry to any one of 100's of properties...

"As of 2020, the Trust (United Kingdom) owns almost 250,000 hectares (620,000 acres; 2,500 km2; 970 sq mi) of land, 780 miles of coast, more than 200 historic houses, 41 castles and chapels, 47 industrial monuments and mills, the sites of factories and mines, 9 lighthouses, 56 villages, 39 public houses, and 25 medieval barns."
All the properties which are open to the public will allow a Zimbabwe resident WITH his/her NTZ card, FREE entry. This is a massive saving for travelling Zimbabweans.

From my own experience, the coastal walks alone are a treasure - with ocean views and splendid photographic opportunities they offer the able walkers a good few hours in the fresh air enjoying the views!

An example of one of the scenic walks along the coast in Devon

Richard Conlon painting of Worlds View
This beautiful painting was done by Richard Conlon of Harare and is the iconic view from World's View. If there are any budding artists out there with photo's of the site, or photo's of your paintings from this area, we would love to share them on our social media pages, with your permission of course!
Of course the fauna and flora photo's are also welcome.

Gill Honeyman and her team of caretakers and gardeners continue to maintain this breathtaking site for many visitors to enjoy.
Visitor numbers are improving and of course we are all looking forward to a full return to 'normal' ASAP!

We look forward to welcoming you there! Guests can now enjoy a light snack and refreshments served from the Froggy Farm horsebox on the site over weekends and holidays, as well as their selection of homemade produce.

The members of the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition committee, NTZ Executive Council members together with some key stakeholders proudly celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Museum in style with a wonderful event held in December 2021.

The Museum has certainly come a long way since it first opened its doors to the public, the Committee would like to thank everyone for all their hard work and determination to succeed to house a unique public display of ancient manuscripts, photographs and other exhibits of interest relating to Nyanga and persons and events connected with its history and development. The Committee would also like to extend a huge thanks to all it donors and people that have so generously donated items to the various exhibitions.

Champagne was served at the museum and everyone enjoyed delicious snacks which were kindly brought by Mrs. Honeyman and Mrs. Moore.
Some of the museum committee in attendance were: Mrs Merle Moore, Mrs June Weeks, Mrs. Gill Honeyman the NTZ Council representative, members of the Museum Committee and the adjacent Rhodes Nyanga Hotel and representatives from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Nyanga.

The Museum committee said that they will work hard to continually improve the historical information in the permanent collection, hold regular curated exhibitions and work with local schools on Cultural Heritage programmes.

Recent visitor numbers to the Museum were low; of course with more Covid-19 restrictions being lifted, we can look forward to an increase. The Museum continues to attract schools groups and tourists alike, although not in the numbers we have seen before the pandemic. The quiet periods have given the staff an opportunity to pursue various projects which involve the museum and also to get minor repairs and improvements undertaken. Our Curator, Marshall Nyanhanda continues to look after the Museum and shows a great interest in the local history at all levels.
We are sad to lose Merle Moore who retired as Secretary of the Nyanga Committee, after ten years of active voluntary service. A big thank you to Merle for all her hard work for the local Committee.

Merle Moore
Merle's retirement from the Nyanga Committee will be sorely missed. Many thanks Merle for all your hard work and dedication to the Historical Exhibition work!
From our Curator’s Report:-

"It was pleasure to interview Mrs. Moore at her house, telling me about all the experiences she had during the eleven years she was the Secretary of the Nyanga Museum.

She joined the committee in 2011 with her husband Mr. Nigel Moore. They joined the committee from the foundation after it has been closed for quite some time.

She believed in togetherness and respecting ones ideas that led to the successful of the museum.

Apart from being a committee member she learnt a lot from the collections and the history which was gathered and put up in the museum. She acknowledged the tremendous work which was put up by the committee especially Mrs. Edone Ann Logan who she mentioned was very instrumental in changing the face of the Museum.

When the museum re opened in 2011 the committee had to work extra hard to make the place well known again. They had to advertise in hotels and in the churches. It worked very well and the number visitors started to increase year by year. She lamented the worst time we experienced during the Covid 19 and she hoped things will change.
She was a very busy secretary, compiling everything what have been said on meetings. She took her precious time, and she had and still has the museum at heart. She decided to call it a retirement after long services of 11 years as the Secretary of the Museum.
I Marshall, on behalf of the Museum, thanked Mrs. Moore for her years of dedication to the Museum and the Nyanga Community and I wished her all the best and good life and health."


The Thomas Meikle Trust has agreed to pay for tools, equipment and protective wear for 2 workers to begin clearing a fire-break and the invasive lantana plant which occupies quite a bit of space on the site.

It is hoped that we will be able to keep one of the workers on as a site caretaker and The Thomas Meikle Trust will then pay his salary. This will go a long way in enabling the site to remain cleared of the lantana and maintain a full-time presence with the caretaker, leading eventually to the refurbishment of the site to allow for us to welcome more visitors to the area.

Our Murahwa's Hill site has been rather 'quiet' for a long while, and our new Committee members have been working tirelessly behind the scenes for a long while, in a great endeavour to get the site 'back on the map' so to speak.

Very exciting and ongoing news and developments from Murahwa’s Hill in Mutare, with most grateful thanks to John Legatt and the Roy Turner Trust for a very generous donation with which we are building a protective stone wall along the front of the property in order to secure the site. Work and enhancement continue at a pace and we will update you with more photo’s and more details as and when we can.

Murahwa’s Hill is a prominent landmark 3 km to the North West of Mutare and it has a unique combination of cultural heritage and indigenous flora and fauna. It was named after a local Headman Madekurahwa under Chief Mutasa who lived at the foot of the hill from around the second half of the 19th century before relocating further south in the Save Valley. Traditionally it was protected in the past as a place of spirits.

The Hill has an indication of early occupation by the indigenous peoples of Manicaland. Archaeological evidence is observable in a number of places. As one ascends the hill from the south on the western side there are rock shelters with traces of rock paintings as well as potsherds on the shelter floors. A cave with well-preserved mud plastered lath granary is found on the slopes west of the summit.

The site was acquired by the Trust in 1963 and the wire fencing and National Trust signage was destroyed and in recent years the site became a target for illegal wood cutting and settlement. The protection of its valuable resources has been of huge concern to the Trust. The development of the site has been hampered by a lack of funds and a local committee to drive the project.

The Trust is delighted to announce the formation of a new local committee, Chaired by Eng. Jackson Njunga, in October 2021 with whom we are very much looking forward to working with to achieve the Trusts aims which are: to have a presence at the site, to research into activities that will lead to the financial sustainability of the site and to see how the local community can be involved and supported.

After a record-breaking Christmas season Gill Honeyman, Chair of Worlds View site, said that they were in a good financial position to be able to assist some of the building works planned for the Hill. Her drive and energy kick started the project and work begun in earnest at the site. Following Gills initial donation Edone Ann Logan successfully managed to fundraise further funds from generous members of the History Society which the Trust is extremely grateful for.

The first works consist of building a new driveway and a stone wall starting from the old gate stretching along to the corner boundary with the Mutare Show Grounds. The new committee agreed on the size/height of the wall and also the quality of design for the wall in order to attract visitors to the site.

Groundwork continues at the entrance where a lot of clearing and tidying up of the bank along the roadside has already taken place.

The second works will be to complete the whole frontage of the boundary line. The new wall will assist in both declaring and protecting the site.

Gill Honeyman has very generously donated masses of brightly coloured Aloes that she had propagated to plant and grace the new entrance.

Eng Jackson
The photo shows Eng. Jackson Njunga with the new stone walling at Murawah's Hill
Some of the Mutare workers with the newly-arrived aloes from Gill Honeyman at World's View, which will be planted at Murawah's Hill
One of the Trust's exotic Vanda orchids in the Courtauld Collection at La Rochelle

Some of our members are aware of all the hard work put into the compilation and subsequent publication of the Visitors’ Book, taken from the diamond-stylus etched signatures from the windows in the formal drawing room at La Rochelle.

We are proud and happy to announce that the publication is now available for you to purchase, either as a hard copy, or on-line through our website. Please read the information below on the long-awaited publication!

After arriving in Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) in the early 1950s, British couple Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia Courtauld decided to make it their home. Fabulously wealthy and with diverse artistic and humanitarian interests, the Courtaulds built a striking home and gardens which they called La Rochelle. They bequeathed the property to the NTZ in 1970.
At La Rochelle the Courtaulds hosted an extraordinary range of visitors from all over the world and from many walks of life. Visitors were invited to sign their names with a diamond stylus on several glass window panels, and the hundreds of inscribed signatures have intrigued more recent visitors to La Rochelle.

Over the past seven years three volunteers have documented 898 signatures, aiming to learn a little about each individual – not an easy task given the problems of deciphering the signatures and the passage of time. The resulting publication provides a fascinating glimpse of signatories ranging from African nationalist activists, political figures from various parties, prominent musicians, dancers, actors and artists, historians, British aristocracy, local residents and more.

The project was initiated by a former guest and friend of the Courtaulds (and well-known local botanist) Darrel Plowes and an Australian visitor to La Rochelle, Heather White. As Darrel’s health limited his involvement, his companion Nina Bauer, took on the research with Heather. The memories of local residents, along with extensive internet searching, have allowed the compilation of brief notes about many of the Courtaulds’ visitors, with web links and/or verified sources.
While much has been discovered, some intriguing gaps remain, and it is hoped the readers of the publication may be able to add a few more pieces to this picture of Rhodesian/Zimbabwean social history.

Order your copy today! Only USD 20.00!
More news from La Rochelle:

Repairs and Upgrades.
The Fantasy Suite – formerly Lady Courtauld’s private day room – has undergone a major refurbishment including a new roof with increased gradient to prevent leaking as well as new flooring, re-upholstery and repainting.

The Manager’s house - formerly ‘The Lodge’ has also undergone a major refurbishment including re-plumbing and replacement of bathroom and kitchens, re painting throughout interiors and exteriors, new guttering, and replacement of old and unsafe electrical fittings.

The Swimming pool, below, has also undergone a third major overhaul given the constant cracking and faulty plumbing.
In keeping with our intention to save energy and use cheaper and renewable power, a programme of replacing gas and electric geysers with solar is ongoing as well as the introduction of inverters across the site to mitigate the increasingly erratic power supply.

Future work includes major repairs to the tower roofing, a re-furnishment of the water furrow from the spring as well as additional work on the main roof.
Herbs being grown at La Rochelle and surrounding farms include.
Calendula flowers and petals, Peppermint leaf, Spearmint leaf, Stinging Nettle leaf, Dandelion leaf, Thyme leaf, Chili fruit.
Other crops that are currently being trialed at our farms include: Valerian, Althecia
Echinacea purpurea, Thymus serpyllum
Tea factory Kevin
The photo shows Kevin Martin with invited guests at the opening of the herbal tea processing plant last year in 2021
Last year another herb dryer was added to the processing and pack shed at La Rochelle to increase production and quality of products being processed at this facility. This has proven to be of great use and is working well in the system.
La Rochelle Country is home to some of the most captivating birdlife and has now got access to the services of an excellent guide (Peter Magosvongwe) to offer professional birding outings to visitors with adequate notice. Their first such birding specific weekend took place in February and was a great success with the birders spotting the extremely rare Swinnerton’s Robin. It is hoped that NTZ members will support this initiative and bring up groups of family and friends to enjoy the Country House and its varied activities.
Community Projects.
A community project that was started in June 2021 making protective clothing is continuing to be successful. A group of deaf women were identified who had the potential to be trained in making the protective clothing. Machinery was then purchased, and training was given in making face masks, protective clothing, and other garments. This project greatly helped people in our immediate community that previously were limited when trying to support themselves and their families.

A second project that commenced during 2021 was that of the reestablishment of the Lady Courtauld ‘Women’s Craft Club’ which took place suitable in the ‘old craft hall’ where Lady Virginia initiated a similar project some 70 years ago. Mrs. Diana Negri kindly assisted Karina Martin in helping design templates based on the range of herbs growing at La Rochelle. The Centre will provide a market for such work including as far a field as our German partners and their customers.

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