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Zimbabwe to open its first cultural tourism site
2006-10-12 01:10:33 Xinhua English

HARARE, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The reconstructed Old Bulawayo (KoBulawayo), King Lobengula's former capital, will be officially opened on Saturday, becoming Zimbabwe's first cultural tourism site.

The regional director of National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe Rudo Sithole has said a royal ceremony featuring traditional events was being organized.

King Lobengula was the last Ndebele king in pre-colonial Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Vice President Joseph Msika will be the guest speaker at the event where those who will attend will be treated to traditional dishes and brew. Sithole said her department was inviting companies in the tourism sector to now include Old Bulawayo as part of their packages for tourists visiting the country.

One of Zimbabwe's most celebrated dub poets, Albert Nyathi, and other Ndebele poets, cultural groups and school children are billed to perform at the Saturday ceremony. The site was already a hive of activity yesterday with elderly women preparing the traditional brew for the function and cultural groups rehearsing.

National Museums and Monuments workers were also putting final touches on various structures, including King Lobengula's monument, at the interpretative site. The construction of the monument started in the 1990s with input from experts from KwaZulu Natal in South Africa.

KoBulawayo was built in 1870 and burnt down in 1881 on the orders of King Lobengula when he abandoned it under military pressure from colonial forces and an onslaught by missionaries who wanted to convert his people to Christianity against his wishes. He moved to a new site of the present-day State House in the City of Kings.

Visitors can enter the 10 beehives inside the King's enclosure, the King's Palace and his wagon shed to get a feel of the royal lifestyle during King Lobengul's reign. Enditem

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