Deterioration of Former Royal Residence Causes Visit By Swazi King To Be Cancelled
Old Bulawayo, the last royal residence of King Lobengula, was named as Zimbabwe’s “first cultural theme park” in 2006, but has deteriorated so much in just three years that it prompted Zimbabwean officials to cancel King Mswati III’s planned visit to the site earlier this month.
The site was rebuilt in a manner similar to King Zwelithini’s residence in South Africa in the hopes of attracting tourism to the Zimbabwe, according to an article in The Standard. However, the huts are beginning to cave in, and there is no evidence that Old Bulawayo has been maintained since its opening.
The original plan was that the Ndebele people would live at the site, and maintain their traditional lifestyle and preserve their cultural heritage, including installing a king, while educating the public. The park hasn’t received funding from the government, and the roads leading to the area are in an extremely poor condition.
King Mswati’s visit to the site was cancelled due to the embarrassment of officials about the state of the area. King Lobengula’s descendants are still holding traditional ceremonies at the site, and there have been reports that the grass surrounding the area is now being cut. Small steps are now being taken with the goal of improving Old Bulawayo. It is unclear whether these steps are being taken due to the embarrassment over showing the area to King Mswati, or because of the public’s awareness of the state of the area.
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Tagged King Lobengula of Matabeleland, Mswati III of Swaziland, Official Visit, Old Bulawayo, Residences, Zimbabwe.