President to open Pupu National Monument

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is expected to officially commission the reconstructed Pupu National Monument in Lupane, Matabeleland North Province, this week as the country corrects distorted historical narratives that undermined the inspirational bravery and legacy bequeathed by the country’s heroes.

The new-look monument has immortalised the famous Pupu Battle of 1893, which demonstrated the bravery of Ndebele warriors under the command of General Mtshane Khumalo, who defeated 33 British troopers led by Major Allan Wilson.

Wilson and his men were on a mission to capture King Lobengula but Amabutho, as the Ndebele warriors were known, using the cow-horn formation, prevailed against them, killing all the British troopers on the spot.

The Second Republic has been on a deliberate drive to correct the country’s distorted history, especially where colonialists were giving themselves credit, ignoring the resilience and bloody sacrifices of the indigenous Africans. 

The Government, through the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) in consultation with renowned historian, Mr Pathisa Nyathi, embarked on the reconstruction of Pupu Monument, which previously glorified the conquered Allan Wilson and his 33 British mercenaries.

The new monument is built in a cow-horn formation and surrounds the smaller one that was previously erected to celebrate the defeated colonialists, a clear signal of how Allan Wilson and his men were defeated by Ndebele warriors who were also known as Ingwazi.

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Richard Moyo, confirmed President Mnangagwa’s scheduled visit for the commission event slated for Thursday.

The commissioning is expected to amplify the glorious history of the first Umvukela/Chimurenga and shed more details on how the Ndebele warriors resisted colonialism and shielded King Lobengula from humiliation and capture by the British during the battle that occurred on December 3 and 4 in 1893.

“We are expecting His Excellency the President to commission the Pupu National Monument on Thursday March 21,” said Minister Moyo. 

“This is a significant milestone as the monument is narrating our history of how our forefathers, led by General Mtshane Khumalo, fought and defeated white colonialists. We are reshaping our national discourse and putting our heroes at the forefront.”

Minister Moyo said Matabeleland North is proud to host the national monument that details the fearless and heroic resistance of indigenous Zimbabweans against colonialism at its earliest stages.

NMMZ acting executive director, Mr Darlington Munyikwa, said the reconstruction of the Pupu Monument aims to inspire future generations that colonial subjugation has always been resisted. He said the Ndebele warriors, in particular, should be celebrated as their victory is relevant to today’s political dynamics. 

“The former monument at Pupu was actually talking about Allan Wilson and his fallen men. So, the ministry had to redevelop the site so that we could tell the story of the victor,” said Mr Munyikwa. 

“This battle is an inspiration to us all that even under pressure, with determination we can overcome our difficulties. King Lobengula and his warriors, despite the fact that they are not equipped with modern weaponry, were able to overcome Allan Wilson and his men who used the Maxim gun, etc.” 

He said the Pupu story was inspirational as it speaks about defending territorial integrity, which started with the forefathers, noting that King Lobengula never submitted to colonial power.

“So, the purpose of this monument is to retell the story and offer a proper narration of what happened, to provide a proper narration of how the King defeated the colonialists,” said Mr Munyikwa. 

Historian Methembe Hadebe described the reconstruction of the Pupu National Monument as historic and significant in recognising collective resistance by the people of Zimbabwe from the pre-colonial and post-independence eras.

He said in telling the Zimbabwean independence story it is imperative to connect the various stages that culminated in the liberation of the country. Mr Hadebe said the Second Chimurenga/Umvukela brought the country’s independence because it was inspired by the first generation of fighters.

“This is one of the significant moves by the Government to honour the Ndebele warriors who defeated white colonialists. The Ndebele warriors were called Ingwazi, which is important to document and mainstream their contribution in defending this country,” said Mr Hadebe. 

“Also, the Anglo-Ndebele War, the first Chimurenga/Umvukela and the Second Chimurenga/Umvukela might have occurred in two epochs of the country’s history but they are similar as they speak to colonial resistance.”

He said the Battle of Pupu was inspirational as it proved that Africans could defeat whites despite the inferior weapons that they had. Mr Hadebe also said the Battle of Pupu was the spark that informed the Africans that it could be done, adding that going forward there is a need to mainstream the publishing of books with such history so that future generations can have better appreciation of where the country is coming from.


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