Tourism minister commissions ‘fake’ cultural village

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

TOURISM minister, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu was sold a dummy Monday when he was made to commission a cultural village supposedly depicting the Kore-Kore people’s way of life and etiquette.

The village, replete with modern amenities such as tap water and holding tanks and a solar system, evidently fails to tell the real story of how the indigenous Kore-Kore people live in unadulterated settings.

Also, in the thatched kitchen, except for wooden cooking sticks, mortar and pestles and winnowing baskets, most of the utensils and other paraphernalia are modern.

The barbed wire perimetre fence at the village is also unlike how indigenous people secure their yards.

During a tour of the facility, the minister even pointedly questioned why one of the ‘tour guides’ was not speaking Kore-Kore dialect.

Only the well-architecture thatched huts that include the bikiro (kitchen), gota (boys quarters), nhanga (girls quarters), hozi (granary) and others tacitly showcase the Kore-Kore way of life and artistry.

Unveiling of the sham project was part of the 2020 World Tourism Day national commemorations held under the theme; “Tourism And Rural Development.”

Ndlovu was, however, upbeat the project would transform the lives of local people.

“We’re witnessing the handover of a cultural project with potential to add to tourism products in the province…such projects help transform the livelihoods of the community for the better.

“This product resonates with one of our pillars, wonderful people and culture which will be exhibited at the village,” said Ndlovu.

The recently launched Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy aimed at ameliorating the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic also speaks to investment in new tourism products to diversify destination offerings, said the tourism minister.

Custodians of the centre, which has already been issued with a tourism operator’s licence by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), were urged to market it vigorously so that it did not become a white elephant.

Makonde legislator, Kindness Paradza was ecstatic saying the cultural centre would add to tourism products found in Makonde district, which include the mystic Chinhoyi Caves and teeming wildlife.

The project, situated in Alaska on land donated by Makonde Rural District Council, was spearheaded by ZTA in 2018 to promote cultural and heritage tourism.

Meanwhile, Ndlovu took the opportunity of his visit to tour Chinhoyi Caves, and made a curious confession it was his first time in his life to marvel at the caves which form one of the major tourists attractions in the country.