Mthwakazi threat to take down Nehanda statue from iconic Byo arts centre

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

A showdown is looming between the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) and the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) following the secessionist party’s threats to remove First Chimurenga heroine Mbuya Nehanda’s statue mounted at Mzilikazi Art Craft centre in the majority Ndebele speaking city.

Mzilikazi Art Craft Centre is located in Mzilikazi high density suburb and is run by the City of Kings Business Ventures, a wholly owned BCC company that is registered as an educational vocational training institution.

MRP has given the city council a week to remove the statue which the party describes as offensive to the Ndebele people.

Mbuya Nehanda is believed to be the spirit medium that was the inspirational source behind the 1896-97 first Chimurenga.

According to a letter written to city authorities by the radical party’s president, Mqondisi Moyo, MRP wants Nehanda’s statue replaced by that of King Mzilikazi.

“The presence of Mbuya Nehanda statue is of little significance, not only to the city but to Mzilikazi Art Centre situated in Mzilikazi suburb and named after King Mzilikazi.

“There are quite a number of Ndebele significant people whose statues can be erected there. The likes of King Lobengula, Queen Lozikeyi and many more Ndebele heroes and heroines,” wrote Moyo to the local authority in his petition.

The MRP leader threatened to storm the place and remove the statue if council did not act within the next coming seven days.

“We, therefore, give BCC seven days ultimatum to remove that statue before we take it upon ourselves,” Moyo said.

The MRP president also threatened to remove all road signposts bearing Shona names on the city’s roads.

“In the next stage, we will be dealing with the issue of Bulawayo CBD roads as we correct all the wrongs in Mthwakazi particularly in Bulawayo,” Moyo added in his petition.