Invitation to a Memorial Exhibition of the Lifelong Work of Mr Darrel Plowes

You are cordially invited to a Memorial Exhibition of the lifelong work of Mr Darrel Plowes being organized by National Museums and Monuments Zimbabwe (NMMZ) and the Mutare Art Gallery on 19th October 2017.

The exhibition will showcase and celebrate Darrel as a person and as a plant collector, orchid specialist, author, scientific researcher, photographer, ornithologist and butterfly collector. The display will also cover his public and community service work as a Museum Society member, a NMMZ Board member, Cactus and Succulent Society member and long serving, very active and dedicated member of the National Trust of Zimbabwe. Some of his personal items will be on display.  Dr Mupira  Regional Director of the NMMZ will be one of the guest speakers along with Ms Nina Bauer and Mr Des Becker who are attending as on behalf of the National Trust and well as being close personal friends.

We look forward to seeing you there.

The NTZ wins the International National Trust Organisation Small Grants Programe Award

In 2014 the NTZ decided to undertake an innovative, experimental pilot project for school children to “re-discover their living traditions and identify their cultural roots”. The project focused on heritage education management and based on community participation in terms of their time and materials and provided capacity building for school teachers. A copy of “The Heritage Education Toolkit” used by heritage clubs in secondary schools was kindly given to the NTZ by the Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda.

The project was drawn up following the guidelines from Uganda, but adapting the details to the Zimbabwean context. The project was championed by Mrs Edone Ann Logan Chairperson of the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition (RNHE). 132 children and 6 teachers, from a secondary school and 2 primary schools, each of which run a Heritage Club, were involved in the project which was the recipient of an International National Trust Organisation (INTO) Small Grants Programme (SGP) fund for which the NTZ was truly appreciative.

The SGP is designed to provide small scale but catalytic support for the international family of INTO member organizations, working on heritage management and related community-led cultural programs.  The primary purpose of the SGP is to build capacity and strengthen governance, membership recruitment and sustainability of INTO members.

The Project gave the RNHE and the NTZ the opportunity of raising public awareness to the value of cultural heritage and the study of the unique prehistory of the area was incorporated into the history and heritage curriculums.  Training guides for the schools involved in the programme were compiled and a display of items/pictures and artifacts took place at the RNHE.

The NTZ now has a proven blueprint for cultural heritage education management that can be replicated in other schools countrywide.  We have seen that schools are keen to encourage the pupils to take an active part in Museum research and displays. We encouraged schools to visit heritage sites in the area and experience hands-on traditional crafts, and most importantly, research their own family histories, collect stories from their grandparents, and find their own identities within their ethnic groups.

We would like to thank Mr W Dhlandhlara of the SOLON Foundation who supported the project and very generously provided funds for the transportation of the school children to the activities and funding the final traditional meal. SOLON also provided each school in the area (60) with a copy of Robert Soper’s ”Terrace Builders of Nyanga”, and the Prehistory Society of Zimbabwe followed by donating Rob Burrett’s “Shadows of our Ancestors” to each school.

The 17th International Conference of National Trust (ICNT) was recently held in Bali and the opportunity to celebrate and review the impact of the INTO SGP was undertaken.  As a past recipient of the SPG we were invited to submit our project into the SGP competition.

Our entry was displayed at the SGP Success Booth set up at the conference to show each project and request each visitor to the Booth to rate the “”Best SGP-supported Project”” from among all previous winners over the past 3 years, rating the Best with a single token vote.

On the final day of the conference (Friday, 15 September 2017) Dame Fiona Reynolds, the INTO Chairman, announced that the NTZ had won the competition!  With over 130 delegates from 30 countries at the conference, including three Executive Council members from the NTZ, we were very proud and excited to have showcased the work that we do in Zimbabwe on a global platform.  Congratulation’s go to Edone Ann Logan and to all her committee members for implementing the project.

David Scott, NTZ Chair accepting the prize from Dame Fiona Reynolds


The NTZ is selected to host the Inaugural Pan Africa Forum Conference

At the 2015 International Conference National Trust held in Cambridge, UK  the Africa Regional Forum was established, the NTZ is a full time member and holds the current Chair.

The vision, mission statement, terms of reference and aims of the INTO Africa Forum are as follows:


A vibrant network of African Heritage Organisations, who are active in protecting and promoting the Continent’s Cultural Heritage.

Mission statement

The INTO Africa Group brings together like-minded National Trusts and Heritage Organisations, from across the Continent to share ideas and resources and to develop a Continent wide voice and influence on heritage matters.

Terms of Reference/Aims and Objectives:

The Group will concern itself with the conservation of natural heritage, intangible and tangible cultural heritage including architectural heritage.

The aims of the group are:

 To enhance communication, share experiences and knowledge between entities existing and operating across Africa in the heritage and cultural fields

 To create a globally influential group of interested African parties for action on heritage matters within and outside of INTO and, where possible, to act as a group in unison, on matters of mutual interest.

To support national entities in their individual activities as an African group or regionally wherever possible and/or required

 To mobilise skills and resources between nations and regions across Africa and, where appropriate, to implement joint projects/activities

 To co-ordinate an African Heritage Day to promote conservation of cultural and natural heritage in and across Africa and to thereby also promote African heritage globally

 To act as a conduit for African heritage organisations that may eventually wish to join INTO eventually

The NTZ responded to a call for proposals to host the Inaugural Pan Africa Forum Conference and we are proud to announce that we won!

NTZ is planning to involve other Zimbabwe organizations involved in the heritage and culture fields includuing the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, National Museums and Monuments Zimbabwe ; UNESCO (Regional Office based in Harare); local Diplomatic Embassies supporting heritage and cultural projects; History Society of Zimbabwe; Environmental NGO’s and Societies etc

The NTZ is looking forward to hosting conference which will result in a powerful network for NTZ and significantly raise the profile of NTZ and of Zimbabwe and assist in future heritage project funding opportunities locally and regionally.

Members of the Africa Forum Committee discussing the conference at the recent International

Conference National Trust held in Bali

La Rochelle: Comments from Visitors

We would like to share a visitor comments and photographs on his recent stay at La Rochelle:

Hi All, I decided to make the most of it and stay at La Rochelle – an up market, rambling, country style homestead 5 minutes down the Penhalonga Road just on the outskirts of Mutare. My first visit and I have been impressed by how well it is being run; the excellent dinners; and the relaxed feel about the place.


The main house had lots of long passageways and a large lounge as was the architecture favoured some 50 plus years ago. Saturday night in the main living room had several families playing games like scrabble and dominoes with their kids –pleasant music playing quietly in the background. There are bookshelves all over the place with books dating back to the early 20th century – I browsed through a few: “A Great Book of Humour” (1935) with short stories from about 30 authors including Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy; and then there was “Echoes of Old Country Life” (1892). I did, of course, have to glance through a more modern “Remarkable Gardens of South Africa!” (2012) lying on the coffee table.


Lounge showing portrait of Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia hanging over the fireplace

When the work was done I took off on my Bike for a ride along the backroads – all uphill to my dismay – I ended up traversing what seemed like the Stairways to Heaven – one of those where every corner brings yet another steep rise – still people living way up there with local ladies ascending the hill seemingly unaffected by the heavy buckets on their heads.

One of the lovely aspects of staying at a place like this is that you have a chance to chat to all sorts of interesting people. I had a drink with guy from Sterling in Scotland who was travelling around the country with a couple of mates.

La Rochelle is ideal for either a stopover on the way to or from Mozambique or for a week ago away from the Madding crowd. It is a pleasant drive, just over 3 hours, from Harare. Take time out there soon.

A quote that caught my attention in the Humour Book “ Mrs Wright and Mr Bolt were sipping liqueurs and lingering over that inestimable stage of human companionship when acquaintance is drifting into something higher, wider, nobler, broader, deeper and fuller”! (F.E. Baily  in “Look this Way Babe”). A little more subtle than the likes of “50 shades of Grey”!

Mr Mike Garden, Softrite Accounting Systems

Here are some other recent visitors’ comments that were kindly provided by Mr Garden.


La Rochelle – Have friends who stayed there recently with some Art ladies they really enjoyed the weekend and the lovely gardens.


I used to go to La Rochelle when it was still in the Courtauld family and Lady Courtauld was still alive and we used to have tea on the verandah. The gardens were magnificent. I remember it as being so much bigger and so full of colour back then. I think the Manager is doing a remarkable job. It looks wonderful.

Regards Rose


This was the home of Lord and Lady Courtauld. There should be a statue there to her pet Lima and the round turret was for her stone collection. They had interesting visitors who signed the lounge window. They had so many antiques that Mr Holland refused to value the contents so a valuer was sent out from the UK. They also planted all different trees. Glad to hear it is running well.




Historical footage

Watch the 1957 Royal Tour of Rhodesia on YouTube the footage is around 12 minutes long and towards the end (11.5 minutes) there is some footage of the Courtualds and the Queen Mother taken at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Very interesting.

It is linked to Memories of Rhodesia and produced by the African Film Productions, Johannesburg, SA.

THE 17th International Conference National Trusts


September 11-15, 2017


With the tagline “Our Cultural Heritage, the Key to Environmental Sustainability”, the 17th International Conference of National Trusts (ICNT 17) 2017 expects to bring together 200 + delegates from across the world who will explore the connection between their cultural traditions and concerns for sustainable development. We need to share our experiences, both scientific and practical, on conservation towards a sustainable environment. The ICNT 2017 Bali will elaborate this into concrete and practical solutions, so that local residents can strengthen their culture and improve their quality of life while conserving their environment.

Delegates will have the opportunity to discuss topics ranging from ways to strengthen culture in a dynamic development process; to managing and promoting it across the world, and to including culture and heritage in development policies and programs. Delegates will also examine the following specific issues:  the impact of economic development on cultural landscapes; the relationship between cultural rights and social development; issues of heritage preservation and poverty; disaster risk forecasting and management; and the impacts of climate change.


The ICNT 2017 will take place in Bali, an island in Indonesia with particularly strong cultural roots.. Religious rules and rituals are embedded in family life, social interactions of all types, arts, occupations, and practical skills. Its rich tradition is also expressed in the integration of culture and the environment.

The five-day conference will be held at Gianyar, one of nine regencies in Bali. The venues include The Republic of Indonesia Palace of Tampaksiring, the Royal Palace of Gianyar, Galleries and Art Space to the old traditional village of Samuan Tiga.


Memorial Bench and plaque in recognition and in celebration of the life of Mr Darrel Plowes

The National Trust was truly honored and fortunate to have Mr Darrel Plowes as an active member who one of the greatest all-round naturalists of Zimbabwe. Following a private family ceremony held in Mutare late last year a memorial bench was donated by Darrel’s family. Last month (June) the bench was placed in the orchid area at La Rochelle which was a place that had special significance to Darrel, since it was Sir Stephen who inspired Darrel’s fondness for orchids, and in turn Darrel has donated the balance of his collection back to La Rochelle.   The bench was designed and made by Gary Goss, a well known local artist, and now visitors can sit and pause and reflect on the beauty of the orchids.

Darrel lived such an incredibly rich life and he was a key link between the present and past of La Rochelle – both with the Courtauld Family and the botanicals – particularly the orchids (Harvey Leared).

The inscription on the brass plaque on the backrest of the bench reads as follows:

Darrel C.H.Plowes


Loving father, friend of the Courtaulds and natural historian extraordinaire

“He may now have ended his never finishing work but will always keep on inspiring me and many others for the remainder of our lives. Whether professional scientist or amateur enthusiast, we owe a great debt to his unrelenting search for knowledge and understanding of the natural world.”

Bart Wursten, Flora of Tropical Africa

The National Trust had a memorial plaque for Darrel, made from black granite, which will be placed in the grounds of La Rochelle later this year.

We are all richer for having known Darrel Plowes. We give thanks for the wonderfully inspiring life of this man and his love of all creation.

Competition: International National Trust Organisation to promote Heritage Education!

The NTZ is a proud member of the International National Trust Organisation and our colleagues John and Emily from the ‘Cross-Cultural Foundation’ of Uganda developed a concept for a project reflecting their conviction that we must focus much of our work on the youth and a desire to share the lessons they have learned from their work to support “Heritage Clubs” in (now over 100) Ugandan secondary schools in the past few years.

“The idea behind the project is to ensure that young people from Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Uganda develop a better       appreciation of the diverse heritage across the continent and become more effective in its preservation, through an electronic platform/ learning network related to heritage conservation and to strengthen the skills of our organisations in delivering more effective Heritage Education programmes for youth in a globalised, but diverse world”

(John De Coninck, Programme Advisor)

Following this idea the first ever crowdfunding campaign was launched by INTO on Monday 14th November 2016 at 2pm GMT to raise as much money as possible from as many donors as possible in five weeks.  The project page can be found at

The good news is that the threshold goal of £2,500 was successfully reached with the assistance of Global Giving and we have earnt a place in their crowd funding community!

As part of the global family of National Trusts The National Trust of Zimbabwe would like you to get involved too!

I love my Heritage!

Show the world Zimbabwe’s unique heritage!

Cash Prizes!

If you are under 20 years and a heritage club member in an Nyanga Secondary School in Zimbabwe then you are invited to join heritage clubs in Sierra Leone and Uganda in a competition to share an experience or activity of your heritage club, which you feel is exciting:

  1. Submit a 2-3 minute video clip taken on a phone or camera depicting an exciting experience/ activity related to heritage.
  2. Write half a page (about 250 words) explaining your video clip.
  3. Submit your entry on a flash drive or memory card to your Principal or Heritage Teacher, who will submit it to Faith at the Nyanga Library or Marshall at Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition (Museum).

You will be invited to present your entry to a panel of judges on 20 September 2017 at the Rhodes Hall, Nattional Park.

Winners receive cash prizes!

Your video may be publicised nationally and used by the International National Trust Organisation to promote Heritage Education!

DEADLINE: 14TH SEPTEMBER  (first week of 3rd term)

For further details please email:

Thank you, we look forward to receiving your entries.

Archeological Artefacts Excavated at Mabukuwene

The property has a long social heritage that extends back from at laest 250,000 years to the early colonial era. This history is represented as archaeological sites, rock paintings, old village remains, graves and various stone and brick-built structures. In July 2017 the National Trust Zimbabwe (NTZ) gave permission to the National Museums & Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) to conduct a rescue excavation of midden material (ashy village waste and domestic debris) that was being eroded by water channelling down one of the paths. The NMMZ team comprised of six museum curatorial staff namely: Ms Senzeni Khumalo, Mr Lonke Nyoni, Mrs Charity Nyathi, Mr Todini Runganga, Mr Obert Mangwana and Mr Maxwell Fumula.

Here is an extract from one of the first report backs:

“Today we did a one metre by one metre trench at 10cm intervals. The first ten centimetres we recovered 10 glass beads of various colours, pot sherds as well as bones. At 20cm we recovered 40 beads and bones and at 30cm the trench was sterile only two glass beads and a few pot sherds were recovered. A new trench will be dug tomorrow“.

This is great news indeed and many thanks go to and Mrs Khumalo her team for undertaking the very valuable rescue excavation work that was carried out as the archaeological materials were in danger of being lost/damaged further. This news greatly increases the interest of the NTZ site and confirmed that the property was the village of one of the Ndebele indunas (chiefs) in the precolonial era, probably dating to between 1870 and 1890. We eagerly await for the full report.


World Heritage Day

Global heritage group mobilising young people in fight to preserve cultural identity

Today, the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) are launching a new resource, ‘Trust Kids!’, a list of 25 things young people can do to explore, celebrate, preserve and share their cultural heritage. 

In her annual World Heritage Day Lecture, Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chairman of INTO, warns that our intangible cultural heritage is under threat and that we must do all we can to encourage the next generation to protect, promote and pass it on.

World Heritage Day aims to raise public awareness about the diversity and vulnerability of the world’s built monuments and heritage sites and the efforts required to protect and conserve them.  INTO’s 70 member organisations are dedicated to promoting the conservation and enhancement of the cultural and natural heritage of all nations for the benefit of people all over the world.  Last year a report by INTO highlighted apathy as a key threat to the future of our global heritage.

Today, Dame Fiona will speak about the importance of helping young people, living in an increasingly uncertain world, to embrace the future more positively and confidently by sharing the strengths of their cultural identity.

‘Trust Kids!’ is a list of 25 things young people can do to explore, celebrate, preserve and share their cultural heritage. From drawing your family tree to finding out how your town got its name; from learning a traditional dance to preparing a regional dish; discovering a local custom to interviewing an elder about community traditions, there are some great ideas for exploring heritage, learning new skills and trying new things.

The education resource aims to grow young people’s appreciation for their traditions and living culture, building greater solidarity and cultural respect, and increasing resilience in response to the threats to intangible heritage.

“Identity helps us to belong, to feel safe and to feel proud. Learning about our own identity will help us to better respect and tolerate each other. Cultural identity refers to the manner in which we express our uniqueness. This may be through the way we look or dress, the language we speak, the food we eat and other forms of expression. Identity is also expressed through values – what we consider as individuals, families or communities as positive.” (Trust Kids! 2017)

Dame Fiona will speak about the dangers to the survival of distinctive cultural expressions (dance, costume, music, poetry, storytelling, traditional games and handicrafts) posed by globalisation, social change, migration, apathy and manipulation and the work that the world’s biggest and broadest heritage group is doing to save it.

“The conservation of intangible heritage is no longer a fringe activity – it is a necessity. Preserving intangible heritage requires different measures to the ones used for conserving monuments and sites – it needs to be kept alive and relevant. It must be regularly practised and learned within communities and between generations. That is why engaging young people is essential to its survival.”

“In a world of increasing globalisation, intolerance and fake news, we can encourage young people to develop their own sense of cultural identity, based on the best bits of their heritage.  Our ‘Trust Kids!’ network will also build greater solidarity and cultural respect amongst young people, wherever they call home.” (Dame Fiona Reynolds)

Dame Fiona also called on governments, including here in Britain, to ratify the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

You can find out more about Trust Kids! on the INTO website

International Day for Monuments and Sites (or World Heritage Day) is celebrated on 18 April every year.  It aims to raise public awareness about the diversity and vulnerability of the world’s built monuments and heritage sites (not just those listed by UNESCO) and the efforts required to protect and conserve them.   This year’s theme is “Cultural Heritage & Sustainable Tourism” chosen in relation to 2017 being the UN year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.