Zimbabwe wants to welcome more Russian tourists, eyes more cooperation with Moscow

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By Staff Reporter

PERMANENT Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana has called for more cooperation between Russia and Zimbabwe while encouraging Moscow to consider Zimbabwe as their preferred tourist destination.

Mangwana made the appeal in an interview with the Russian media outlet Sputnik.

“I think when direct flights are launched, the levels of tourism should get better […] We would also like to have tourists not only from China and Japan but also from Russia,” he said.

“People think we live in the jungle, sleep in trees and eat wild animals,” says Mangwana

Mangwana’s appeal comes after recent reports that there has been an increase in the number of wealthy Russians who are booking game viewing and hunting safaris in Zimbabwe as sanctions stemming from President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine limit their travel options.

The Zimbabwe government’s spokesman argued that Russians shouldn’t be hesitant to travel to his nation because of the strong bilateral relations between the two nations.

“I know that stereotypes about Africa in the West are negative,” he noted. “People think we live in the jungle, sleep in trees and eat wild animals. This is all not true, and we need to promote the real image – through films and advertising products. We are on the verge of doing this.”

Nick Mangwana

Mangwana added that given the popularity of Russian culture in Zimbabwe, a restaurant featuring Russian cuisine ought to be established there.

“We are asking ourselves: why is there no restaurant serving Russian cuisine in [Zimbabwe capital] Harare? But it should be opened not by a Zimbabwean, but by a Russian. Then it would be authentic. I would invest in such a project,” he said, stressing that food is an important element of “soft power”.

“Russia played a decisive role in the liberation of Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and many other countries,” added the minister

Mangwana added that it makes sense for Zimbabwe to build a monument honouring the Soviet army because Moscow was crucial in the liberation of many African nations.

“The decision to erect a monument to the Soviet army in Zimbabwe is very logical because Russia played a decisive role in the liberation of Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and many other countries. Therefore, it is impossible to talk about the liberation of Africa without mentioning Moscow’s role in this,” he outlines.

ZANU PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa, told Sputnik earlier this month that a monument honouring Russia’s victory in Second World War would be built inside the Museum of the Liberation of Africa, which is currently being built in Harare.

Mangwana has also stated that Zimbabwe emphasises the USSR’s contribution to the liberation of Africa in its history lessons, highlighting how the colonial period witnessed a different view of history.

“We don’t pay much attention to the Second World War in history lessons, but we tell children in the course of European history that the USSR lost a lot of people in this war, that it was the USSR that won the decisive victory, liberated Europe and reached Berlin. But in colonial times, history was taught differently, we were told that Britain won the war,” the deputy minister says.