History in Perpetuity

By Sharon Waterworth

After spending a refreshingly relaxed day in a welcoming atmosphere one can walk to the herbs and spices farm and pick fresh herbs to make yourself a cup of herbal tea or if you prefer, pick a few to garnish your sun downer drinks with.    This new and unique activity is on offer at the newly re-opened La Rochelle Country House and Spa, a magical cross twixt fairy tale castle and French chateau, surrounded by manicured gardens on the edge of verdant forest-cloaked mountains. This luxury country house is an oasis of tranquillity and charm comprising of 108 ha, is one of the best known of the National Trust of Zimbabwe (NTZ) properties situated in the lush, green Imbeza Valley in the eastern border town of Penhalonga, near Mutare. It was renowned in the 1950s and 60s for Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia Courtauld’s lavish and warm hospitality and has long been recognised as one of the most celebrated botanical gardens in Zimbabwe as well as an icon of the Art Deco movement.

La Rochelle is a place of beauty for Zimbabweans to treasure, a heritage the Courtaulds wanted to share with everyone. Today, it’s dedicated management team aims to be the intersection of nature, history, culture and the arts, creating an ambience of holistic wellbeing.

Please click on the links below to read the full article:

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Connect with the Present and the Past

By Sharon Waterworth

Join the many people that visit the 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 on display at the Rhodes Nyanga
Historical Museum. The museum is a National Trust of Zimbabwe property. It was built in 1897 by Mr Marks a stonemason
for Cecil John Rhodes and it is located in the Rhodes Nyanga National Park.

On his death in 1902, his Nyanga Estate was bequeathed in trust to the people of Zimbabwe. In May, 1974 the National Trust Zimbabwe acquired the right to occupy the building for the public display of manuscripts, photographs and other exhibits of
interest. Which means the museum celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2014.

Connect with the present and the past as you wander around the fascinating exhibits on show inside a historical building known as Rhodes Stables. Enjoy the memorabilia depicting the life and times of early Zimbabwe, from the Stone Age to modern times together with the art, culture and traditions of this beautiful area.

The Museum is now larger than ever………..

Please click the ink below to read the full article:

Zimtrader Dispatches issue 23 Mar 29 2018 RNHE

Enjoy a Seat with an Amazing View

By Sharon Waterworth

Take a seat and sit above the clouds and birds flying and gaze down from one of the highest points in the land of
Zimbabwe across the central plateau almost a kilometre below. The view is of a land of mystery, of peace and of
extreme beauty and it seems endless.

Where can you find this amazing view? At Worlds View, a National Trust property where from an altitude of 2000
m the escarpment drops 600 m to the plain below. Mr Michael Tucker recently very kindly donated two
hardwood benches which are now the crowning glory of the kopje. The benches were designed and made by
Gary Goss, a local bench craftsman. Sit and eat your picnic whilst soaking up the magnificent view, there are
various picnic tables for your personal use.

Please click the link to read the full article:

Zimtrader Dispatches issue 25 April 13 2018 Worlds View

Exciting Historical Exhibition: Collection of Traditional Shona Sculptures

By Edone Anne Logan

‘The Yawn Dog’, ‘The Mighty Eagle’ and ‘Hongwe’s Ponder’ are a few of the fascinating titles given to Jonathan Matimba’s traditional Shona sculptures that are enriching the display at the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Museum. The late Jonathan Matimba is one of the three most famous and influential stone and wood carvers of the 1950s and ‘60s.

‘Seed Pod’, ‘Morning Love’ and ‘Flying Dream’ describe some of the modern pieces of work, crafted by our Nyanga and Claremont sculptors, giving an interesting contrast to the onlooker. Most of the modern artists are sons or grandsons of famous sculptors of the last century: Joram Mariga, Manyandure, Takawira, Sande and Chaudiringa, many of whom were brought up in the Nyatate area of Nyanga North, and sold their work locally and overseas.

At the Official Opening of the Exhibition on 13th August 2018, Mr Naboth Muchopa enthusiastically introduced Dr Jonathan Zilberg.

Dr. Zilberg is Associate Research Scholar at The Centre of African Studies, University of Illinois, gave an exhilarating talk on the history of Nyanga sculpture, mentioning the importance of women such as Miriam Mbwaburi, who sold woven reed mats at the local hotels in the ‘50s. Miriam was encouraged by the Rural Council to establish the Nyanga Craft Village and to invite potters and sculptors to join her.

Dr. Zilberg explained to the audience, which consisted of local folk, sculptors and their families, some important points which make sculptures appealing to buyers.  During the weekend he spoke with many of the artists, encouraging them and giving helpful advice.


A record number of visitors took advantage of the Open Day by touring the Museum, and enjoyed the refreshments. This special exhibition has been extended from the intended closure on the 14th August 2018. The Matimba family is happy to leave the work at the Museum for a few months.

The idea and inspiration for the exhibition came about thanks to Dr. Zilberg, who visited Zimbabwe last year and made us more aware of the wealth of talent  – historical and modern – which we have in our area.  On a trip into the Nyatate area, north of Nyanga, we were grateful to have be introduced to one of Jonathan Matimba’s sons, Munetsi who took us to the Matimba homestead where Mrs Matimba is still alive. You can just imagine our surprise when we arrived there and saw the extraordinary wooden sculptures. Then, even more amazingly, Munetsi dug his hands down into his granary and started pulling out his fathers’ stone sculptures. He told us that his father, Joram Mariga and Bernard Manyandure had gone to school up the road at Mt Mellory Mission School and that they had all learnt to carve there.

The family agreed to let us display some of Jonathan’s works for as long as we wish, in order that they can be seen and appreciated by the public.  The transport of the works of art from the Matimba’s homestead was kindly made possible by a donation from Mr Rob Burrett.

The discovery of this unique collection and this being the first exhibition of the artist’s works is of great significance and of national historical interest. We are very proud and privileged to display these rare early pieces of art for public enjoyment.

Unique exhibition of Shona Sculpture: Invitation to the official opening and address by Dr Jonathan Zilberg, PhD.

Rhodes  Nyanga  Historical  Exhibition

(Rhodes Museum, Nyanga)

is proud to present an


View the unique exhibition of stone and wooden

carvings and sculptures by Nyanga’s

Jonathan Matimba


and modern-day sculptures by artists from the Nyanga Craft Centre, Claremont and

World’s View Sculptor groups.

The Exhibition will be open from

Friday 10th to Tuesday 14th August (8 am -5 pm)

Entry to Museum and Exhibition – Adults $2, Children $1


by Dr Jonathan Zilberg, PhD.

Associate Research Scholar at Centre

for African Studies, University of Illinois.

10 am, Monday, 13th August, 2018.


Free Entry on Monday 13th August. This includes a tour of the Museum.     Teas available.


La Rochelle Organics Project Update

We are very pleased to report that the herb farm training centre at our La Rochelle property has seen the establishment of 10 hectares of ‘field test’ of organic herbs. The trials are well on their way and fast expanding. The project presents an exciting opportunity for ensuring the economic viability of La Rochelle, training and supporting small scale farmers, caring for the environment and raising the profile of the NTZ regionally.

Please find below links to two articles that have been published recently about the project:

  • The Herald: ‘Herb, spice export boost for province’

www.herald.co.zw/herb-spice-export-boost-for-province and

–              INTO Farms:‘La Rochelle Country House’


Happy reading!

Exciting New Exhibition: Collection of Traditional Shona Sculptures

The Rhodes Nyanga Historical  Exhibition is excited to announce that the museum display has been enlarged and enriched by the addition of a wonderful collection of traditional Shona Sculptures by Jonathan Matimba, one of the three most famous and influential stone and wood carvers of the 1950s and ‘60s.  This has come about thanks to Dr Jonathan Zilberg, who visited Zimbabwe last year and made us more aware of the wealth of talent  – historical and modern – which we have in our area.

On a trip into the Nyatate area, north of Nyanga, we were grateful to has as our guide, one of Jonathan Matimba’s sons, Munetsi, who has kept in touch with us.  The family offered some months ago, to let us display some of Jonathan’s works for as long as we wish, in order that they can be seen and appreciated by the public.  If interest is shown in purchasing any of the pieces, the prices will be available.

The transport of the works of art from the Matimba’s homestead was kindly made possible by a donation from Mr Rob Burrett.

The sculptures are now on display in the Wagon Shed.  We are awaiting a full history of the life of the artist and the titles and explanations of the meanings and inspiration behind each work of art.

Members of three of the main  modern-day  Nyanga stone sculptor groups have been invited to bring one piece of work each to display along with Matimba’s work for the duration of the long weekend: 10th-15th August 2018. Please do join us: we would love to share our new collection with you.

Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition Opens A New Exhibit

The museum is proud to announce its latest project: the opening of a new exhibit entitled “Zimbabwe Time Line”which depicts salient historical events related to Zimbabwe during the period from BC to 1980.

All Council Members participated, each researching a 30-year period, and we now have on display five periods from BC until 1980.

Josephine Machopa organising the 1920-1950 exhibit 

June Weeks, Dalray Bailey and Merle Moore                     

Naboth Machopa organising the 1950-1980 exhibit

The last period:  1980 to the present day, has been researched and written up for us by the teachers and pupils of the History Department of St. Monica’s High School.

Great interest is being shown already by the many school children who visit the museum.

Offering New Perspectives On Our World and It’s Cultures


The 16th May 2018 marked a momentous occasion for the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) when an event to greet three Old Italian Master paintings, that had been on loan from the Permanent Collection, were returned back from the UK namely:  “Patriarch” and Astronomer” by Paolo Veronese and “The King of Poland being welcomed by the Doge of Venice” by Andrea Piazza. The works are dated from the Late Renaissance to the Baroque. The three artworks are of the zenithal degree and have been an integral part of the NGZ’s Permanent Collection’s lineament of Global Art History.

For the past 21 years the paintings were housed at Eltham Palace, a royal residence from the 14th to the 16th century and the childhood home of King Henry VIII of Tudor. The Palace is located in Greenwich near London and administered by a charity called English Heritage who manage and conserve over 400 historic buildings and sites in the UK. The Tudorian mansion was re-designed to the Modernist tastes of Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia Courtauld when they took up residence in the 1930’s, then twenty years later, in the 1950’s they retired in Zimbabwe.

During the restoration of the Eltham Palace, the Director of Museums and Collections of the English Heritage requested to borrow the three master paintings for display. After years of correspondence, the works finally arrived in London on the 6th of July 1999 from Zimbabwe. They were hung in the Italian Drawing Room where they were originally when Sir Stephen and his wife lived there. The paintings thematically cohering to the eloquence of the space, evoking Renaissance zeal to the mise en scène in which they were housed.

 Eltham Palace

The loan of the artworks made them accessible to new audiences who were able to be inspired, learn and enjoy. Galleries are committed to making their collection widely available to museums and galleries around the world and supporting important exhibitions. Collections are a valuable public resource, reflecting the generosity of past and current donors and public investment in their continued care and development. Borrowing and lending are the lifeblood of gallery outreach programmes, offering new perspectives on our world and its cultures, and the sharing of collections, contributes to their interpretation and increases the benefit they can provide for the public.

The return of these artworks back into the NGZ’s Permanent Collection has a basis of association between a triumvirate of institutions with a common Patron. The benefactor being Sir Stephen Courtauld who was born in the UK in 1883 was a soldier, philanthropist and heir of the English wealthy Courtauld family of textile industrialists. Sir Stephen directed his interests to the advancement of the Arts, not only in the United Kingdom, but all over the world. When Sir Stephen and Lady Virgina retired to Zimbabwe they built a French style tower and house, with Welsh slate roof tiles in the beautiful Imbeza Valley, Penhalonga.

  La Rochelle Country Estate which is now a leading boutique hotel

Throughout the span of his life, as his family before him, he led a life that was inarguably non-conformist and an example of his pursuit for social justice can be seen at La Rochelle. A window at the house has inscribed within it, the names and signatures of scores of revolutionaries who sought abode there, en route to Mozambique during the Second Chimurenga. Arguably, being a military man himself, bequeathing wealth and artwork to what was then the National Gallery of Rhodesia; one marvel’s at the man’s nobility in his dichotomous support of needs of all within that body politic that was all embracing to cultural diversity.

Sir Stephen was a keystone in the establishment of the NGZ. Throughout the inception process, the opening and the development of the institution, Sir Stephen applied great fervour to the functionality of the organization to such a degree he was appointed the Chairman Emeritus until the time of his passing. The couple, who died in 1967 and 1972 respectively, became the first patrons of the gallery and donated La Rochelle to the National Trust of Zimbabwe. In his Will all beneficiary institutions were to freely distribute artworks between themselves for the enjoyment and enrichment of the cultural lives of the Public wherever he donated artworks. His legacy and foresight led to the loan of the paintings to Eltham Palace.

At the ‘welcome home’ reception for the paintings an excited audience gathered, appropriately, in the Courtauld Gallery at the NGZ for the celebrations. The backdrop for the official event was the exquisite painting entitled: “The King of Poland being received by the Doge of Venice” by Andrea Piazza.

“The King of Poland being received by the Doge of Venice” by Andrea Piazza.

The painting captures the King’s festive entry that took place on July 18 1574. The waterscape of the middle ground is festooned with gondolas navigating the Grand Canal as they shift towards the eye to dock before reception by the court and High Society of Venice. The linear perspective of the composition shifts the eye towards the vanishing point, where atop, the Saints watch the events unwrapping below with approval, the veneer in this section establishing the painter’s exquisite application of chiaroscuro wherein the darker tones of the foreground express the aggregation’s earthiness and mortality.

The proceedings began with Mr Raphael Chikukwa, Deputy Director, Chief Curator on behalf of the NGZ welcomed the return of the three Italian masters paintings and acknowledged the presence of the Director of the British Council Mrs S Harvey and all other distinguished guests. He said that this was a unique event in so many ways that started when the Executive Director and himself visited the UK and had the opportunity to meet with the Courthauld Institute then follow through with various discussions until it was agreed that these important artworks be returned to Zimbabwe.

The artworks were originally left to the NGZ by Sir Stephen who also donated a lot of funds to establish and support many institutions in Zimbabwe that included the construction of the NGZ, which we are all enjoying today as Zimbabwean’s. Sir Stephen also donated his entire old masters collection to the NGZ. So I would say he was our biggest philanthropist in this country and for us as the NGZ we were one of the biggest beneficiaries of his donations.  Mr Chikukwa asked for an acknowledgement for the late Sir Stephen and for the legacy that he left behind.

 From left to right: Mr D Scott, Mr R Chikukwa and Mr Roberto Franceschinis

He added that there are a number of philanthropists in the world but Sir Stephen was a rare one whose work can be seen through these paintings. He thanked the NGZ committee for being able to put up such up historic exhibition which also called upon local Zimbabwean artists who took up the call to collaborate and participate by creating works especially to welcome the three paintings home.

He explained how Mrs Lillian Chaonwa, the Conservation Manager went to the UK to personally oversee the packaging and transportation of the paintings from the UK to the Netherlands, then from the Netherlands to Zimbabwe. He said that there is no other person better placed than Mrs Chaonwa to do so and for which she is highly valued at the gallery where she has worked for more than twenty years.   Mrs Chaonwa has also fostered relationships with many galleries around the world such as the Tate Modern and galleries in Uganda. He asked everyone present to give her a big pom pom.

Mr Chikukwa handed over to Mr David Scott, Chairman of the NTZ who took the chance to illustrate the existence and importance of protecting our national heritage. He explained the background, purpose, aims and objectives of the NTZ who protect the seven properties for the future benefit of the people of Zimbabwe and for overseas visitors, with La Rochelle being the flagship property.

 Mr Scott (2nd on the right) addressing the audience

Mr Scott explained that the NTZ conducts tangible and intangible activities and conducts heritage education and other cultural projects. The La Rochelle site has direct links to the artworks being re-housed and exhibited today through the Courtauld family who bequeathed that property to NTZ and who also donated these and many other paintings to the NGZ.  He pointed out that Sir Stephen was knighted in 1958 for his services to Zimbabwe and for his cultural and philanthropic work in Zimbabwe. Sir Stephen gave away an estimated £1m in gifts and money towards helping art, music, education and race relations in Zimbabwe.

Donations included:

Mutare – Queens Hall and Courtauld Theatre, The Bulawayo Theatre; College of Music, Ranche House College, St Michaels Church Harare, Nyatsime College Library, University of Zimbabwe, the establishment of  Kukwanisa Agricultural Training Centre; Rhodes Club Mutare (the first multiracial club in the country, enabling the building of the NGZ through generous financial support and numerous artwork donations, National Museum and bequests to the NTZ and the Zimbabwe Academy of Music.

He said that it is rumoured that discussions about the original ZANU constitution were held at La Rochelle and this theory is supported by the existence of signatures of political figures such as Ndabanigi Sithole and Herbert Chitepo and other nationalists on two special windows at La Rochelle containing hundreds of signatures of people who visited La Rochelle at the time the Courtaulds resided there. Mr Scott then gave a short history of Eltham Palace which is one of the few important medieval royal palaces in England to survive with substantial remains intact. Initially a moated manor house with vast parkland, it was acquired by the future Edward II in 1305. Mr Scott thanked the NGZ for the opportunity to participate in this important exhibition and added he was happy to have been able to provide the historical background of the Exhibition.

The final address was made by Mr Roberto Franceschinis, the Acting Ambassador of Italy, who greeted everyone and started by thanking the NGZ for inviting him to be the Guest of Honour on such an extraordinary occasion, by virtue of the fact that the paintings of which today we celebrate the homecoming, were created by Italian Masters some 400 years ago. They integrate a remarkable collection of old Italian Masters which places the NGZ at the forefront of cultural destinations in the Region, and which we have the privilege to admire here today.

Mr Franceschinis then gave a brief introduction about the three artists:

Paolo Caliari, in art “Il Veronese” (1528-1588) was a late Renaissance painter who soon developed his own taste for a more vivid palette of colors.  According to Gauthier, a French critic of the nineteenth century, Veronese is the greatest colorist that ever lived, greater than Tiziano, Rubens or Rembrandt in his ability to harmonize natural tones to render light without violent contrasts, as opposed to the academic chiaroscuro technique of the time.

After the successful completion of the frescos at Villa Barbaro, a new palace in the outskirts of Venice designed by the renowned architect Palladio, a mature Veronese is commissioned with decorating the Hall of the Grand Council in the Palazzo Ducale. An immense oval named “The triumph of Venice” establishes Veronese as the true beacon of the intellectual progressiveness and civic liberalism that made Venetian society the most culturally advanced at the time, as opposed to the regressive, neo-feudal, moralistic involution that was taking hold across Europe and which would soon disembark at Venice itself to influence his latest years.

Andrea Piazza (1587-1670) was born in Castelfranco, a small town near Venice, was initiated to the art of painting in the city of Venice under the guidance of his uncle Paolo, at the time an accomplished artist himself, who had taken religious orders becoming a Capuchin friar. This was now well into the period of Catholic resurgence, a return to a more conservative religious discipline in response to the Protestant Reformation, a troubled time indeed in Europe ending only at the close of the “Thirty Years War” in 1648. Upon request from his superiors, Friar Cosmo and his nephew Andrea reached the court of the Roman Catholic Emperor Rudolph the II of Augsburg in Germany, where they spent years to glorify with frescos and paintings the eternal beatitude that the Faithful attain in paradise, as opposed to the misery and unyielding suffering of the heretics, among which they included Luther and many others. It is said that the representations were so lively and convincing, not only to achieve the desired effect quite successfully but also to echo all the way to Rome, where the two were finally drawn on the request of the Pope himself. A now mature Andrea became soon known as an excellent painter, and in later years moved first to the court of the Duke of Lorraine in France, where he was knighted in appreciation of his masterly skills, and finally back to the Republic of Venice, where he remained at the service of the Doges, and where, among many others, he realized this extraordinary piece of art.

During his closing he commended Mrs. Doreen Sibanda, Executive Director of the NGZ, together with the Curator Mr. Raphael Chikukwa and staff for their unrelenting commitment to bring such extraordinary pieces of art back where they belong, to mark not the closing of a chapter, but the onset of a new one, dedicated to treasuring these masterpieces as part of this Country’s own history to the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations of Zimbabweans.

He then quoted Brian Bradshaw, a former Executive Director:

“It’s not to be expected that the work of the Gallery will ever be simple, perhaps also it is not to be hoped that it should be so, because art, which blends the Past with the Future into a continually expanding Present, is not of a nature to equip itself with anything less than the least simple of efforts.”

Mrs Lilian Chaonwa gave a vote of thanks the English Heritage Team at Eltham Palace who took such good care of the three paintings and returned them to the National Gallery in a pristine condition.  She also thanked Mrs Samantha Harvey Director of the British Council Zimbabwe who funded the Executive Director and Deputy Director’s trip to the UK which was the beginning of the talks to return the paintings. She also gave special thanks to the NTZ and the Italian Embassy.

  “Astronomer” by Paolo Veronese and Mrs Lilian Chaonwa, Conservation Manager

The Astronomer, wherein a draped man reclines with astrolabe in hand, the countenance on his face bears intrinsic thought and contemplation as a man of that station was classically entailed. The dark and light tones of the composition are rich and the warm colour is radiant, with the texture of the natural distinctly standing apart from the drapery, sharply creased and filling the eye pleasingly with its voluminous appearance.

Of special note are the local artists that responded to the Zimbabwe Meets Italy exhibition in a very short period of time and with such breath-taking results. Down in the Courtauld Gallery were two mixed media pieces from Greg Shaw, along with appropriate artworks from the Permanent Collection including an oil on canvas of “David And The Head Of Goliath” by Giovanni Battista Caracciolo, works by Rashid Jogee and a metal sculpture of David slaying Goliath acquired by the Friends of the Gallery. Upstairs in the South Gallery and along the passage to the PC Gallery were some very creative works by the following artists: Lilian Magodi, Tawana Reza, Clive Mukucha, Progress Nyandoro, Munyaradzi Mazaririe, Munyaradzi Mangate, Anthony Bumhira and Percy Manyonga.

 The Patriot” by Veronese Paolo: Oil on canvas 135 x 104 cm with (left to right) Mr D Scott: Chair NTZ, Mrs S Waterworth: Vice Chair NTZ and Mr Chikukwa: Chief Curator

After the speeches the audience who included members of Government, representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, The Directorate of the National Museum and Monuments of Zimbabwe, representatives of the National Archives of Zimbabwe, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, The National Trust of Zimbabwe and The British Council of Zimbabwe, artists, cultural practitioners, art lovers and art students began to disburse and enjoy seeing the rare art works on display after being served refreshments.

The NTZ would like to thank the NGZ for providing their technical input into this article.