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U.S. provides over $64,000 to restore Naletale national monuments
November 08, 2013
The United States Embassy
has awarded over $64,000 to the National Museums and Monuments of
Zimbabwe (NMMZ) to restore the collapsed walls of Naletale National
Monuments in Matabeleland South province. The support was made possible
through a U.S. Department of State initiative, the Ambassador’s
Fund for Cultural Preservation.
On November 13th, U.S.
Ambassador Bruce Wharton will join senior NMMZ officials in Gweru
for a tour of the monument and the official handover of the grant.
“This project acknowledges
the importance of Zimbabwe’s pre-colonial history and demonstrates
the deep respect the United States has for Zimbabwe’s rich
cultural heritage,” said Bruce Wharton, U.S. Ambassador to
Zimbabwe. “The involvement of students at Midlands State University
– whose logo incorporates the Naletale monuments – in
this restoration project exemplifies the kinds of cross-cutting
partnerships we strive for, and also ensures that Naletale will
be appreciated and monitored by future generations.”
The restoration of the
collapsed walls and conservation of the deteriorating structure
of Naletale will ensure its architectural, historical, aesthetic,
educational, scientific and religious integrity are maintained.
The Naletale National Monument was placed on UNESCO’s 2012
World’s Monument Watch list. This site is known to have the
greatest variety of traditional Zimbabwe culture decorations and
patterns, displaying the highest level of craftsmanship of pre-colonial
Shona civilizations. Archaeologists believe the total collapse of
the remaining walls would render the patterns irrecoverable.
The funding will also
see the restoration of an interpretive learning center and enable
NMMZ to acquire equipment such as a Global Positioning System (GPS),
theodolite, cameras, and veneer calipers - all vital tools for professional
archeological work. The NMMZ will work with a specialist in dry
stone wall conservation and management who will assist in the execution
of the project as well as train and develop local experts in stone-wall
Dr. Godfrey Mahachi,
Director of NMMZ, hailed the U.S. government for its support. “NMMZ
is grateful to the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation
for the financial assistance given for Naletale Monument’s
restoration. This project will go a long way in contributing to
the national development strategy as restored monuments become important
assets of the Tourism Industry. Restoration and Conservation are
the scientific and technological basis for Heritage Management.
To this end, the project will be vital in the development of local
expertise in the science and technology of conservation particularly
in the field of traditional dry stone masonry.”
that Naletale can be developed as well-marketed foci for both domestic
and foreign tourists within the Midlands region, thus strengthening
the link between NMMZ and the local community living near these
sites. “It is our hope that this cooperation will not end
with the Nalatale Monuments but is a pointer of fruitious cultural
cooperation between our Institutions for the betterment of global
heritage management and for the benefit of humanity,” Mahachi
In 2008, the United States
Embassy provided funding for the installation of surveillance and
security equipment at the Great Zimbabwe Museum to curb theft of
valuable historical artifacts and cultural resources at Great Zimbabwe
in Masvingo province. The funding enabled the NMMZ to procure CCTV
systems, battery backups, computer equipment, alarm and fire detection
systems and provided training to staff on the use of the new equipment.
The Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation assists individuals
and organizations to preserve museum collections, ancient and historic
sites, and traditional forms of expression, and thereby helping
to reinforce cultural identity and community solidarity.
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