Exciting news: NTZ Auction on Saturday 31st October 2020 at La Rochelle

This very beautiful ORIGINAL watercolor painting of La Rochelle by Zimbabwe’s well-renowned Margi Grobelaar is going to be AUCTIONED on Saturday 31st October AT La Rochelle, during the 60th BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS.

This auction will help raise funds for the National Trust of Zimbabwe.

If you wish to take part in the auction from afar, we can help you out – we will have a WHATSAPP AUCTION GROUP set-up and will be happy to have your bids coming in LIVE during the auction.

Please send through your WHATSAPP NUMBER to the GROUP NUMBER which will be +263 772 359 087 and we will add you in.

Bidding for the painting will be during the course of the day on Saturday and the WHATSAPP group will be notified of the opening. Bids may commence when the auction starts.

RESERVE PRICE US$200 (two hundred dollars)

Please note that bids will be in US$

Good luck!

Far from the Madding Crowd

Mike Garden, of Softrite, recently visited La Rochelle Country House and we are pleased to share his feedback from his stay:

Hi All

Softrite still has quite a few loyal payroll customers in Manicaland so I drive down to Mutare from time to time to pay them a courtesy call to see if they need any enhancements to our software.

I always maintain that spring is the best time to be travelling anywhere in the Eastern Highlands: starting with Miombo woodlands covered with a dazzling array of ochre coloured Msasas in August; progressing to the verdant green-leafed deciduous trees in late September; then the lilac Jacarandas and cherry Flamboyants (non-indigenous / exotic) in October and November respectively.

La Rochelle Country House, situated in Penhalonga on the outskirts of Mutare is part of the National Trust of Zimbabwe and they are currently celebrating their 60th anniversary. So I decided to stay at La Rochelle for a couple of nights last week to check it out. The crisp mountain air along with that “Far from the madding crowd” feeling makes it the perfect place to relax either over a long weekend or at the end of a busy day in Mutare. La Rochelle have, arguably, the best orchid displays and aloe garden in the region and I woke up early on day 2 for a guided tour with the very competent and knowledgeable Peter. The botanical gardens have trees, aloes, cactuses and many other succulents from all over the world – and Peter knew both the English and Latin name for just about everyone.


Relaxing with a cup of tea and scones on the afternoon of my arrival, I sat for a while on the long, frontal veranda and read my book – all the while glancing at the pristine rose garden with young buds urgent to come into seasonal bloom. I always throw my golf clubs in the boot of my car when I travel to Mutare as I know I can just pitch up a little before 3pm on Wednesday at the nearby Hillside golf club and join a few mates for 9 holes of golf. The golf club is just 10 minutes away from La Rochelle and the course is in such good nick at the moment – thanks to Kevin and Billy.

If you are looking for something to do with your Covid bored kids and are happy to take a couple of days off then I would recommend you book a couple of rooms at La Rochelle – lots of hiking trails and some of the best bird life in the country. Just a 3 hour trip from Harare on good tarred roads. Ciao Mike Garden.

The Hon. Mangaliso Ndlovu visits the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition.

It was a real honor for the Trust to host The Hon. Mangaliso Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry last week.

The Hon. Minister was attending a conference at the Rhodes Nyanga hotel and decided to visit the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition during his trip to the Eastern Highlands.

Mr Marshall Nyanhanda, the Curator of the exhibition, warmly welcomed the Hon. Minister and his entourage and said that he was very privileged to meet everyone and to show them around the permanent collection.



The Hon. Mangaliso Ndlovu studying Cecil Rhodes Desk circa 1890.


We thank you very much for visiting the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition. It was our pleasure indeed.

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 https://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 https://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.

60th Celebrations: “Trust Memories” Birthday Competition: Be Part of History

60th birthday Celebrations

We are very proud to announce that the National Trust of Zimbabwe will be celebrating its 60th birthday this year! This is of course an amazing milestone.  The Trust was established in 26th August 1960 and ever since that date we have been working hard to carry out the  important job of protecting and managing properties that we are privileged to be the custodians of, for future generations to enjoy.

Trust Memories Birthday Competition: Be Part of History

We are going to launch a “Trust Memories” Birthday Competition: Be Part of History on Friday 17th July.

We are delighted to invite you to join us in celebrating 60 successful years by sharing your earliest memories of a visit to one of our sites. It could be an old photograph/newspaper cutting or a short statement/story of how you felt/experienced whilst you were there.

We will be awarding one year’s free subscription to the best entry. Please visit or membership page to see the list of membership benefits worldwide.

The closing date is 12th August 2020.

Please kindly email your memories to: ntzimbabwe@gmail.com

Please note:

In taking part you agree for your article to be published across our social media platforms.

The competition is only open to Zimbabwean residents.

Thank you very much.

We look forward to reading your entries.

“Heritage is precious: treasure it”




High above the Lakes and Plains

This stunning photograph was recently taken by a Ms Gemma Flower a visitor to one of the Trusts sites aptly called ‘Worlds View’.

It was taken on the summit of Mt. Nyamatoro.

The view overlooks the three Connemara Lakes (on the left hand side) and the plains of Nyanga below through the mist cloud (on the right).

Many thanks go to Gemma for sharing her visitor experience!

New Plaque for La Rochelle

The Trust is deeply indebted to Mr H Leared of the La Rochelle Centre for replacing the timeworn National Trust plaque.

The new plaque, set on a copper plate, reflects the re-branded National Trust logo and colours (from green to blue).

It looks perfectly placed on the court yard wall of La Rochelle Country House and Spa!

The iconic metal sculpture in the fore ground was created by Cedric Green in 1961 who was a man of many talents. In addition to being an architect, he designed Lady Courtauld’s private pavilion known as the “Fantasy Room”, he was also a sculptor.

Originally entitled “Survivor” the sculpture is now affectionately known as “Don Quixote”.

Annual Report for Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition: April 2019 to March 2020

I wish to extend my appreciation to Mrs Merle Moore (Vice Chairman), Mr Geoff Hawksley (Treasurer), Mr Marshall Nyanhanda (Curator) and all Committee Members – past and present –  for efficiently maintaining the smooth running of the museum.

The display depicting the history of the Nyanga Churches and Missions was slowly expanded and improved, with further research undertaken and photographs added.

It is the intention of the Committee to undertake Heritage projects whenever possible.  In 2018 we were invited to join with Uganda and Sierra Leone in an INTO cross-border competition which encouraged children to question and do research into customs and traditions.  It would be almost impossible to organise a project such as this in the Nyanga area without a ‘liaison officer’ who is in contact with every school.  We are most fortunate to have as an ex-officio member, Mr W Dhlandhlara (SOLON Foundation), who fills this position for us, and enabled us to participate in this project.


Pupils from the Heritage Clubs were encouraged to create a short video depicting their chosen subject, using a cell-phone.  Some worked in groups and others individually.  The videos were judged initially by a local panel and the best submitted to a panel of school children.  The three videos with the most votes were submitted to the INTO group.  The best videos were shown at a Prize-Giving Event organised by Mrs Moore and Mr Dhlandhlara.


Welcome speeches

Mr W Dhlandhlara                           Mrs M Moore, Vice Chair

NTZ and SOLON funded the lunches and Mrs Waterworth organised the certificates.  There were monetary prizes which went to the Heritage Clubs, and three individual prizes.  Our gratitude goes to INTO, the teachers involved, Curator, the judges and committee members and to NTZ Councillors who attended the event.


First prize:  St Monica’s School with Mr Dhlandhlara, Mrs E.A Logan Chair, Mr D Scott Executive Chair

                                                                                      Second prize: Nyatate School

Proud Runners up

Mrs Waterworth, Executive Vice Chair, then presented three educational

books that were very kindly donated by the Solon Foundation.

Following the lecture and journey of exploration in 2017 to Nyanga North to visit the homes of early Nyanga Sculptors by Dr Jonathan Zilberg, (Associate Research and Scholar for African Studies), the family of the late Jonathan Matimba offered Jonathan’s work to RNHE for display.  Dr Zilberg and Rob Burrett assisted with the funding of the project and the works of art were transported to the museum in August.  This culminated in an Open Day and Exhibition of the works of Jonathan Matimba and local sculptors, who were given the opportunity of displaying their work at the exhibition; some sales were made.  Dr Zilberg spoke to the large gathering of visitors and artists on Nyanga’s early sculptors, explaining different styles, materials and techniques. The Committee is now discussing how the widow of Jonathan Matimba can receive some reward for the loan of the works of art. Dr Zilberg presented RNHE with one of the wooden sculptures – The Yawn Dog.  A professional video has been compiled by Iain Macdonald as a valuable record of this important event.

Dr Ines Grainger donated the funds for a new sign for the door of the Grainger Room to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Don Grainger.  A summary of the life of Don Grainger was printed in the John Galt Gazette.  This excellent local publication advertises free of charge, monthly news from RNHE and articles of general interest re recent displays, etc.

The Curator and Student on attachment have updated the inventory documentation and donation records on the computer.   They have prepared most books in the Grainger Reading Room for cataloguing; this project needs to be completed and students encouraged to make use of the excellent collection of books for research purposes.

As public interest increases in the museum, so does our opportunity of spreading information and helping to make the world a better place!  Mrs Matimba was given a wheel-chair from Rotary, through Council member Clare Peech, as a result of the sculpture exhibition.

Dr Ines Grainger donated copies of her Women’s Club recipe books to a club organiser in Harare who visited RNHE, for use by her members.

Rob Burrett’s historic booklets have become ‘best sellers‘ from the museum shop, with some visitors asking for the latest publication to add to their collection.   Rob has also written an excellent booklet for schools on Rock Art, funded by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, particularly for the Mukuvisi Wooklands Environmental Project.  400 copies were given for distribution to Nyanga Schools.

As a result of our enquiries and research into the history of the Dutch Settlement, an excellent illustrated document has been written by someone who grew up in that area in the 50s/60s, which can now be used for information on this previously un-documented area and era of Nyanga’s history.

Visitors have requested more information on the Natural History of Nyanga, and the Committee is planning a display to depict this.

As a grand finale to our year, we moved, with great difficulty, a Portable Steam Engine donated by Aubrey Logan, from Juliasdale to RNHE, with the assistance of Mr Steve Lapham,  Mr  Sibanda of National Parks and his tractor driver,  the Curator and a number of good, strong men! The renovated and painted Engine (exported from UK to SA in 1903 and pulled by oxen to Bindura district in 1904) is happily settled in the Wagon Shed, next to the Ox Wagon.

Good wishes go to Marshall Nyanhanda with his studies by correspondence for a Bachelor of Science honours degree in Development Studies – under the Faculty of Social Sciences.  We have enjoyed the company of our student on attachment Meshullam Mudzedze, and will miss her presence at the museum.  She has worked well and matured in confidence over the past ten months, and we wish her well as she continues with her studies in Archaeology, Museum and Heritage Studies.

Our thanks go to Management and Staff of Rhodes Hotel for their support of all our projects and for generously lending their cups, urns and chairs for functions.  The Hotel also accommodates the Curator and his family, for which we are most grateful.

To David Scott, Sharon Waterworth and the members of the NTZ Council, our thanks for your continued support and advice.  Our thoughts are with Mrs. Helen Hyslop as she struggles with health issues.  Helen advised and encouraged us through those first difficult years, and we miss the contact with her.

In stepping down as Chair, my very best wishes for the future go to the new Committee of the RNHE, may you gain as much enjoyment and satisfaction from your museum work as have Aubrey and I !

Edone A Logan, Chair, April, 2019

Footprints: I am indeed awed by what Edone, first Chairperson of RNHE, and Aubrey Logan and their successive committees and donors have achieved to make such a remarkable museum. The RNHE is the only NTZ museum in the country:  it is our duty to maintain and develop it as a unique showpiece.

The present path: Numerous donations have graced our shelves, floors, nooks and crannies over the past year:  the Punch Library of Humour from Merle Moore and her late husband Nigel; a 170-year-old executive desk first owned by Sir Benjamin Greenacre, Mayor of Durban, and latterly by his (recently late) great-grandson John, from whose collection of 18 exquisite chess sets a fascinating African one, made of intricately-crafted wire, was chosen for the Museum. The magnificent, wondrously carved ‘Greenacre desk’ now serves proudly as our grand Reception desk.

Much care has been taken into rejuvenating our small entrance garden, litter collection, labels and signs, and the Curator’s unsolicited restoration of wooden railings all add to a positive ambience and attract favourable response.

Hearty tribute is due to our small, determined and enthusiastic committee for their constructive ideas, practical input and generously-given time over this past year. We have been delighted to welcome Nyasha Makanza – Manager of Rhodes Hotel to our ranks.

Challenges: The shortages of fuel and rapid decline in value of our local currency over the past year have had a catastrophic impact on our attendance levels, particularly by school parties:  schools (and parents) have to budget for ‘outings’ and educational trips well in advance but, by the time they arrive, our very modest entrance fees have become unaffordable for them and we do not have the heart to turn them away.

To be of real use and amongst the greatest of such needs is to be educational. To be of educational value – to old and young – means more than being merely ‘fascinating’ or cluttered. In numerical terms the vast majority of our visitors are young people, eager to be captivated and to learn. We must grasp and build on this educational opportunity within this Museum, as an adjunct to the international award-winning outreach already achieved, led so commendably by Edone Ann Logan and her assistants.

Needs: A Regional Information Centre. A small 50-seater lecture/video-theatre, of simple construction and comfortably appointed with carpeted steps and a large flat-screen TV for chool children, public lectures and functions.  This is something we believe we now need and it’s appropriately educational! Relevant material has already been researched and prepared.

Two other needs are the resurfacing of the Shed’s floor, and replacement of outside steps up to the loft.

Projects:  We are planning a new brochure – one which we hope will ‘capture’ people irresistibly. With this in mind, we have had a lot of photographs taken professionally both in, and of, the Museum – photographic ‘hints’ of what is to be found here.

Something we are striving for in Rhodes Museum is to achieve a balance in what we display. It is important that we portray significant players and events in our history from Lobengula to Tangwena, from Welensky to Mugabe, from the Mashona rebellion to the liberation struggle – all as part of the boundaries laid down by Rhodes 130 years ago.  We have been awakened to this need, surprisingly, by children visiting the Museum who say, “Who were the people ruling this country before Independence in 1980? We want to see them and know about them, too.” Boundless scope here for additions to the informative Time Line already set up – and for our video theatre!

The Nyanga region is home to a variety of creative crafts-people:  here are to be found wood-carvers, sculptors, weavers, nurserymen and furniture-makers. One of our projects is to give such people the greater exposure they deserve, by holding on-site ‘Craft Days’ over public holidays when visitors can see them at work (and hopefully buy).

One aspect of Nyanga’s history which has been largely overlooked by our Museum is the “Old Dutch Settlement” of Nyanga North, dating from more than a century ago. We mustn’t allow this significant part of our local history to slip into oblivion.

Finally, we here in Nyanga live in a paradise of wild flowers. One of our hopes is to celebrate this natural beauty, in Rhodes Museum, by displaying copies of Mary Clarke’s comprehensive and meticulous paintings of local indigenous flowers – perhaps those relevant to each month.

GUY CARY, Chair, 2019-2020

Annual Report: 2019 La Rochelle Estate

La Rochelle Estate

Country House and Spa

The La Rochelle gardens continue to amaze us with their beauty. Here pictures of the gardens and the rare and wonderful findings we see on a daily basis..               

The unique Lady Virginia orchid flowered again in late 2019. The orchid was discovered by Sir Stephen Courtauld on the eastern Java Islands during his travels there sometime before the start of the second world war. There have been no others like it found in the world and so Sir Stephen named the orchid, Vanda lombakensis Virginia Courtauld after his wife Virginia.

The orchid was taken by Sir Stephen back to England where it was kept in a glass house at Eltham Palace. It flowered once then during the second world war and survived when the glass house that it was in was bombed. A small piece of the plant was recovered and re potted. It was then brought to Zimbabwe when Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia moved to La Rochelle.
This is only the fifth time that it has flowered to our knowledge, the last time being in 2016 and before that in 1973.

“Garden to plate” – we love serving our guests fresh, organic vegetables from our garden.

Our main focus for 2019 was to expand the La Rochelle vegetable garden. We are now able to feed our guests fresh, organic, homegrown goodness and we are thrilled.



Herbal Tea Tastings have become a favourite activity for guests at the hotel where they get to taste fresh, healthy, herbal teas picked straight from the organic farm.

We hope to expand this further in 2020.

La Rochelle Organics

It has been a very busy time for La Rochelle Organics and the team continues to work hard to grow organic herbs of export quality.  The work continues to grow at a rapid pace in terms of field trials, expanding storage and processing operations, number of people employed, crops planted, hectares under croppings and so on. It is amazing what has been achieved.

The total area of crops under production in 2019 totaled 12.30 ha and consisted of the following varieties:

Crop La Rochelle Farm
Calendula 3.00ha
Melissa 2.30ha
Peppermint 1.20ha
Spearmint 1.50ha
Stinging Nettle 3.10ha
Forage sorghum – Compost 1.20ha
Total hectares under cropping 12.30ha

In the picture below you can see calendula, spearmint, stinging nettles and safflower.

Crops grown commercially in 2019 include the following:

 Stinging nettle organic


Initially it took time to establish and its potential was doubted. However, over time it was realised that it is a hungry feeder with a high irrigation requirement. Consequently both nutrient availability in the soil and water/irrigation methods was improved and it has since started performing very well.

Mint organic

This type of mint is the most challenging to grow in this area. It is the most susceptible to disease and plant stress. Growth problems that we have mentioned earlier in this report and are addressing with Melissa are:

  • A high Nematode count in year two of growth resulting in root damage.
  • A secondary infection of Fuserium and

Calendula Organic                         

Calendula is a good crop for our rotations. However, seed can be a challenge as we collect our own seed, and this reverts back over 2 to 3 seasons. As a result, we continually have to bring in fresh seed for planting. It also has a high labour requirement for harvesting. This next winter we will plant not only to reap petals, but also full flower heads as this is what the market is requiring.

Spearmint organic and peppermint organic

We have now been inoculating our planting material against Sclerotinia and Fusariumusing Trichoderma. We have noticed a major improvement on the disease pressure and tonnage harvested at first cut.

We have also been conducting trials on field mints provided by Martin Bauer. Samples of these have been sent and we understand that they do not fit the specific taste profile required by the customer. We are however keeping these in our parent plant stock if this should change in the future.

In addition to crop production Organic Africa has established a successful educational programme aimed at small scale farmers. The main subjects of study are ecology, sustainable farming and how to farm organically. The table below lists the training courses that were carried out in 2019:

Date of training Training covered Number of people trained Trainer
24.05.19 SOP Harvesting ,Drying and Cleaning vehicles 25 Kevin Martin
3-4.07.19 Mabagrown certification and organic standards 44 Doreen Ngwenyama
16.07.19 Spray Protocol SOP 10 Lindsay Reekie
16-18.08.19 Personnel Hygiene 34 Shingai Mabena
26.08.19 Introduction to Organic Standards 22 Doreen Ngwenyama
12.09.19 Fertilizer and plant protection products application 22 Kevin Martin
13.11.19 Toxic weeds and waste disposal 33 Shingai Mabena
16.11.19 Fire fighting training (Basic) 19 Alpha fire aid
09.12.19 Cleaning Procedures and Record Keeping   9 Zviko Machinga
09.12.19 Seed/seedlings traceability and record kepping   9 Lindsay Reekie

Outlook at La Rochelle Organics

For 2020 we are confident to hit production targets.

Trials are still being conducted on new varieties of products as well as organic pest and disease controls. Also biofumigant green crops have been included in the rotations as well as special consideration to biodiversity in the soils and on the farms. Composting operations are planned to increase to 1500 tons this year.

We have started using the new processing machinery and previous contamination and quality problems seem to be resolved. We are also increasing our drying capacity with the increased production expected.




Mrs. L. Goncalves, Council member of the Trust, and Mr. W. Dhlandhlara of the Solon Foundation (whom we are proud to collaborate with) were both pleased and privileged to represent the Trust at the Nairobi Symposium held in February 2020.

Mrs. L. Goncalves,   Prof. Kilmani Njogu and Mr. W. Dhlandhlara

The event was organised by the British Council and Twaweza Communications in Nairobi, Kenya and held in the stunning grounds of the Botanical Gardens of the National Museum of Nairobi. The Trust would like to acknowledge and extend its deep appreciation to the INTO who very kindly provided the sponsorship for them both to attend.

Ms Jill Coates,Director British Council Kenya 

The core question leading all the discussions at the British Council part of the Symposium was ‘How do youth involvement, contemporary cultural practices and advances in information technology contribute to the overall potential of cultural heritage and how can they lead to cultural heritage interventions becoming more inclusive and engaging with diverse and non-traditional heritage audiences?’

Speakers from a very widely varied group presented their subjects which included such diverse aspects of cultural experiences such as built heritage (buildings, world heritage sites and indigenous sites), intangible heritage such as performances, language, media, folk art, crafts and oral traditions; natural heritage (caves, eco-villages, landscapes) and museums (visual arts, archives, libraries, cultural objectives); and how technology, youth involvement and community participation can increase access to this heritage – and its benefits. The potential for cultural heritage in order to secure livelihoods to enhance social inclusion was also discussed.

Gender inclusivity was also discussed in the various panels, workshops and presentations.

Presentations included:

  • Audience development strategies – with speakers from the UK’s National Lottery Heritage Fund’s ‘Kick the Dust’ project;
  • A lady from Somalia spoke representing the small Somali community in Kenya, who has been instrumental in creating the Awjama Cultural Centre in order to offer the Somali people, in particular the youth who are vulnerable, a chance to maintain their cultural roots whilst living away from their own country. Her project started when she found that the youth of her own Somali society were playing football in the road and had little else in the way of cultural interest;
  • Emily Drani of the Cross-Cultural Foundation-Uganda gave a very poignant presentation saying that ‘cultural identity is in crisis’ and that with social media and technology as advanced as they are, they should be used as modern strategies to teach culture to the youth, with outreach programmes going towards cultural preservation, without losing everything in the homogenisation of ‘cultural diversity’. Youth today are more wrapped up in modern music and more programmes should be developed to give them access to their history, culture etc;
  • Creative and strategic partnerships between cultural heritage and technology – This included a presentation by a South African speaker, Andiswa Bukula of the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources, who is working on a project to ‘collect’ the ‘click language’ Xhosa, in order to capture it, preserve it and make it available on-line to students, as it is only spoken among a diminishing small group of people in South Africa;
  • Cultural heritage for inclusive growth with speakers from Kenya, Vietnam and Colombia;
  • Contemporary approaches to programming for cultural heritage;
  • Cultural heritage and entrepreneurship;
  • In a presentation by the two invitees from Colombia, who spoke through an interpreter, they mentioned that in their very small, marginalised rural communities in Columbia (under ‘Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth’), their MIZAK community (like a small tribe) is one of 107 such small communities being encouraged by tourism to embrace their heritage and keep more young people in the communities through encouragement to return to/remain in, their cultural roots.

What makes a legend? A story. The bigger the story, the bigger the legend!

The statement lead to a discussion:

Contemporary approaches – why should young people be interested or involved? When you ENGAGE with them they become interested. Traditional games and stories for example.

Masai cultural traditions were discussed such as the rites of passage for the young men. How do you reach out to collect information and stories from subtribes? Organisers have to rely on local communities to provide contact and information.

Spotlighting rituals – making them available to be seen/shared by visitors/tourists if possible as a way of bringing income to small communities. Selling sustainable fair trade quality products on the market, feeding the community, providing tourists with souvenirs – coffee, creams, lotions etc using locally produced packaging.

Cultural practices/entrepreneurship – can it work together? Maintaining dignity and honour – an avenue to sustainability.

Alexander Lamont-Bishop, the new Deputy Director General of INTO spoke of the National Trust in the UK and it’s history.

He explained how properties can be donated to the Trust in order to have them protected (ie from developers) according to the owners wishes and as Tax saving moves to protect family inheritances etc. and also a way of maintaining green spaces forever.

                                                                                               Alexander Bishop addressing delegates






Concentrating on success stories Judy Ogana who is the National Officer for Culture, UNESCO, Nairobi Office, gave a presentation on a Government funded exercise to preserve Fort Jesus, a World Heritage Site near the ‘old town’ section of Mombasa.

Mrs Goncalves would like extend her appreciation to the British Council and Twaweza Communications for organaising such a successful event.


Elkanah Ong’esa – famous Kenyan stone sculptor

In her report back to the Executive Council Mrs Goncalves pointed out that Culture is not static, it is dynamic!

She highlighted the following points that are especially relevant for the Trust:

  • Cultural art, traditional medicine, ethnic jewelry and music are important factors to consider in going forward
  • Be more involved ‘on the ground’ with more influence in local indigenous cultural heritage preservation
  • Focus on the preservation of sites and buildings for indigenous education, youth involvement, gender equality and in particular aiding women to become self-sustaining and more valuable in their own communities.
  • Engaging the youth
  • Hold Heritage and Craft and Music Fairs
  • Run Heritage ‘hubs’
  • Themed webinars/Podcasts/Social media

Specifically, as members of the INTO, the Trust should center on:

  • Transactional membership
  • Values membership
  • Legacies
  • Green Spaces
  • Natural and cultural heritage conservation
  • Community outreach
  • Volunteering
  • Commercial

The Trust is now working on implementing the theme of the conference:  Culture Grows: Between Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

We thank you very much for reading this article!