By Ndatenda Njanike
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa Monday visited the construction site of Mbuya Nehanda’s statue where he was informed completion on the work is expected to be finalised by end of next week.
The statue will be erected at the intersection of Samora Machel Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way and construction started early this year.
Mnangagwa later visited Nyati Gallery near Snake Park along the Harare-Bulawayo highway to view the Mbuya Nehanda statue. The sculpturing is being done by David Mutasa.
The director of architectural services in the ministry of local government, Philip Mukunda told the media after Mnangagwa’s visit completion on the work is expected next week.
“The statue is expected to be complete by the 9th December 2020. This is an expected completion date not the exact day,” said Mukunda.
Government is erecting the memorial statue for Zimbabwe’s First Chimurenga war icon, Mbuya Nehanda, in Harare in honour of her heroic rebellion against colonialism.
According to Mnangagwa, the site where Mbuya Nehanda’s statue is being erected is a status symbol for the iconic heroine as she used to “rest and drink water” from a river that once flowed there.
“In this regard, the mounting of the statue of Mbuya Nehanda in Harare, our capital city, will immortalise the supreme sacrifice that was paid by our forebears,” he said on National Heroes’ Day in August this year while addressing the nation.
“The location of this statue carries added historical meaning because the intersection of Samora Machel Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way is the spot where Mbuya Nehanda used to rest and drink water from a river that flowed at the site,” said Mnangagwa.
A flyover is set to be constructed at the junction from which the legendary spirit medium’s statue will stand. She was executed in 1898 on charges of murdering Native Commissioner Hawkins Polard in 1896.
There have been concerns raised on prioritising the construction of the statue when the government is failing to finance needs of civil servants.
Mnangagwa said more statues of First and Second Chimurenga heroes will be constructed, including that of late leader Robert Mugabe whom he toppled in a military coup in November 2017.
“Other heroes and heroines from the early wars of resistance will be honoured in a similar manner among them General Mtshane Khumalo, who commanded the Imbizo Regiment under King Lobengula that defeated the Allan Wilson Patrol at the Battle of Pupu on 10 December, 1893.
“Other distinguished heroes and heroines of the First Chimurenga/Umvukela such as Sekuru Kaguvi, Chaminuka, Mukwati, Queen Lozikeyi, Khumalo, Chinengundu, Mashayamombe, Mgandani Dlodlo, Chiwashira, Muchecheterwa, Chingaira Makoni and Mapondera among others will be accorded appropriate recognition.”
Generals Josiah Tongogara, Alfred Nikita Mangena, late vice presidents Joshua Nkomo and Simon Muzenda will also be honoured according to Mnangagwa.