Map of Africa mountain raises tourism prospects

The unique Mware Mountain in Nyakunhuwa, Zaka, which depicts the map of Africa is being considered by Government to be designated as a national monument.

It is not an optical illusion. Neither is it a script for an African movie.

The sacred Mware Mountain in the Veza area under Chief Nyakunhuwa in Zaka, Masvingo, has attracted the attention of the Government which is now exploring the possibility of designating it a national monument mainly because of the map of Africa that is clearly depicted on the side of this superimposing peak.

Mware has stunned local inhabitants, who are predominantly of the Nyakunhuwa clan of the Shumba (The Lion) totem, by the unique spectacle of a drawing of the map of Africa on one side of the mountain and attributed this to God’s grandeur and named the outstanding peak after the creator of the universe.

Besides the incarnation of Africa’s map on Mware, atop the sacred peak is a deck of water that never runs dry and is believed to be the harbinger of life as traditional rainmaking binges and other rituals to appease the spirits are held.

To complete the triad of wonders at Mware is a deep cave known as ninga in Shona where inhabitants of the area used to seek refuge in times of conflict during the precolonial era.

Government has now set its sights on designating this unique mountain in the Zaka rural heartland into a national monument or tourist attraction centre as part of a drive to boost domestic tourism in line with the Second Republic’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister  Barbara Rwodzi on New Year’s Day led a delegation of senior Government officials to the Veza area under Headman Mutsvangwa in the Nyakunhuwa area in Ward 33 where she met local people, including traditional leaders and other officials on a fact-finding mission that is a precursor to designating Mware mountain as a national monument.

This fact-finding mission, according to Minister Rwodzi, was aimed at establishing whether the sacred mountain ticks all the boxes to warrant recognition as a national monument or tourist attraction site in a move that will be an economic stimulant for the area.

Locals say the map of Africa on Mware Mountain started showing in the 1970s and Minister Rwodzi after her visit said the drawing of the map of African on the mountain was a manifestation of God’s supremacy and that of the country’s ancestors.

“We are here in Zaka North today to see this unique feature of a drawing of the African map on mountain Mware, we have been told by chiefs here that this mountain is called Mware, but its borrowed from Mwari because here we are clearly seeing God’s supremacy and power and of course the supremacy of our ancestors. There is a drawing of an African map that is clearly visible and it is clearly obvious that it is the map of Africa,” said Minister Rwodzi.

“One can even clearly see the European corner at the top of the map and also countries like Madagascar and Mauritius are clearly visible on the map and this is really unique and a natural wonder so we have come here to find out whether it is indeed true that there is such a unique site and wonder in our country and also to establish whether this is really a natural phenomenon or the shape of the map was carved by somebody else using whatever tools they used which of course would disqualify this site as a heritage site.

“However, we have spoken with traditional leaders here and even political leaders who have all testified to the fact that this phenomenon was first observed in the 1970s which means it is likely natural making it a possible heritage site, a national monument.”

The minister said further research work on Mware Mountain may even court the interest of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage that could even push for the peak to be accorded UNESCO world heritage site status. 

She said the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry would start effecting developments at the site to promote tourism once Mware Mountain was designated as a national monument as the potential to attract both domestic and international visitors was high.

“We rushed here after we had been alerted about the map of Africa depicted on a mountain and we have come here and indeed we saw the map its clearly visible for everyone to see and now we want to raise the flag of Zaka, the flag of Masvingo and Zimbabwe because there is no other known place around the world where there is a clearly depicted map of Africa like this save for here in Zaka.”

Designation of Mware Mountain as a national monument would also boost the local economy in line with Government’s devolution initiative.

Minister Rwodzi said her ministry was heritage based and would speedily move to make sure the country accrues benefits from its tourism heritage as part of a broad agenda to grow the tourism sector into a US$5 billion value chain.

Chief Nyakunhuwa, Mr Onwell Maguta said the Mware Mountain wonder of an African map depicted there was first spotted in the 1970s.

“We are happy that the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry has come here in Zaka today to witness this unique spectacle of the map of Africa depicted on Mware Mountain. The name Mware borrowed from Mwari because of the unique things found on the mountain which made our forefathers here to attribute everything to God’s power, but after realising that they could not name the mountain Mwari out of respect for God they named it Mware,” he said.

The chief said according to historical accounts, the African map on Mware was first seen in the 1970s, but could have been there since time immemorial but was hardly noticed as very few people were exposed, conscious and educated enough to link the unique feature to the continental map.

Zaka North National Assembly representative Ophias Murambiwa said designation of Mware Mountain as a national monument would be a boom for the local economy saying Zaka would accrue huge benefits from the resultant boom in tourism if Mware was accorded tourist attraction site status.

“We are happy that the Minister of Tourism has visited Zaka to see for herself this natural wonder of a drawing of the map of Africa depicted on Mware Mountain.

We hope that this unique feature coupled will warrant this site to be accorded national monument status and this will benefit the Zaka local economy as new roads to access the place will be built and other related infrastructure thereby contributing to the expansion of the local economy for the benefit of our people,’’ he said.

The Zaka North legislator said future visit to the area will see authorities climbing atop Mware Mountain to have a close appreciation of other unique features in the sacred peak such as the mystical cave and the pool that never runs dry.

“Traditional leaders here will have to first perform rituals to appease the spirits of the land before senior Government officials can go up the mountain and that is being done now so subsequent visits will see officials going up to the mountain summit,” he said.

Mr Anios Baramhanza from Mageza village in Jichidza said they hoped Government would make Mwera Mountain a national monument.

“We will get jobs here in Veza if this mountain is designated as a national monument, new shops and roads will be opened here thereby developing our areas and the visitors who will flock here will boost the local economy,” he said.

Mware Mountain remains a mystery and locals continue to be bewildered by this unique site that straddles the four villages of Jinjika,Mada,Jocho and Mugadziwa under headman Mutsvangwa in the Nyakunhuwa rural heartland also known as Jichidza.


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