RHODES NYANGA HISTORICAL EXHIBITION – Nyanga, Zimbabwe
INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM DAY, 18 May 2020
Equality : Diversity and Inclusion
As we have been marking International Museum Day today, some may wonder how we can incorporate this year’s theme of “Equality : Diversity and Inclusion” within the thick stone walls of a museum named after Cecil John Rhodes of 130 years ago – whose name this country bore for 90 years following white-settler occupation.
If we try to look at that period of our history objectively, we are bound to acknowledge that there was a philanthropic side to Rhodes’s vision: consider the thousands – of all races and many nationalities – who have benefited directly or indirectly from his legacy of Rhodes Scholarships for many decades; and the fact that the very land and premises of our much-admired little museum were bequeathed to this nation, in perpetuity, by Rhodes from his estate.
So, indeed, with Rhodes’s name attached to our museum, we confidently strive for a balance of what we can now regard as equality: incorporating diversity and the inclusion of all Zimbabweans’ interests in what is displayed within its walls. We aim to represent all facets of the rich human and natural resources, and often troubled history, of our uniquely beautiful country, showing how its people of all colours and cultures have contributed to what Zimbabwe is today – as reflected in our recently constructed Time Line covering centuries of local history.
Rhodes Museum has become noteworthy for its outreach work – particularly with regional rural schoolchildren, whose rich cultural heritage has been explored and revived – which has been rewarded with international recognition. At present the Museum houses a striking exhibition of wood-carvings and stone sculptures by the late Nyanga artist Jonathan Matimba, whose unusual, unique works have attracted the admiration of local and international visitors.
Looking forward, the Trust is working towards expanding the role of the Museum and plan to establish a Nyanga Information Centre and a 50-seat lecture-and- video educational facility at the Rhodes Museum, both facilities are sorely needed in the area.
Despite the challenges we are facing we remain, as all museums should, caring custodians of the past and vital visionaries for the future!
Guy Cary, Chairman