THE City of Kings will reverberate with song and dance on February 28 as the country’s oldest football club Highlanders celebrates its 90th anniversary at Barbourfields — the home of Bulawayo football this year.
A series of events have been lined-up for the year-long celebrations which will run from February 28 to December 11.
The Bulawayo football giants have enlisted arts guru Cont Mhlanga and his Amakhosi Arts Centre to co-ordinate the celebrations.
Bosso, through board member Luke Mnkandla, who heads the marketing sub-committee, have come up with a concept for the launch of the celebrations on February 28.
Carnivals, street marches, performances from local and international cultural groups and football activities, will mark the launch, with close sources revealing that the club will invite one or two clubs from either South Africa or Botswana for a friendly match.
Mnkandla met with Highlanders supporters chapters from around the country last Sunday as he mapped the way forward for the celebrations.
“I met with chapters from Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Gwanda,” he said. “The meeting was on short notice, so other chapters did not attend, we will have a similar meeting on February 7 where we will get feedback from these stakeholders. After the meeting on February 7, we will have a clear picture of what is going to take place on February 28. There will be football activities and cultural groups performing and some of them will be foreign.”
The theme for the anniversary celebrations is Our Heritage — Our Institution Kayisozi ibulawe. Highlanders will also partner corporates operating in the city in the celebrations.
The Bulawayo City Council has granted Highlanders free use of Barbourfields Stadium for the launch and resolved to lease the tennis courts outside the facility at 20% of the normal rates for the whole year. Bosso intends to have celebratory events during its home matches throughout the year.
On the day of the launch, the carnival and street marches from in and around the city will feature schoolchildren, football clubs, sporting teams, drum majorettes, dancers, drummers, the brass band and artistes carrying banners and fliers to Barbourfields.
“Tributary processions from other townships to pour into these two main processions (one from Masotsha Avenue and the other from Magwegwe Youth Centre) will be created as a way to spread the celebration carnival atmosphere throughout the city. There will be nine road show convoys on the day from outside Bulawayo that are organised to start at 8am at designated spots driving to the venue of celebrations. These will start from Gwanda, Gweru, Queens Mine, Lupane, Nyamandlovu, Plumtree, Maphisa and Chefunye along Solusi Road,” reads the concept note.
Highlanders was founded in 1926 by King Lobengula’s grandsons, Albert and Rhodes as Lions Football Club and assumed the name Highlanders in 1936 as Matabeleland Highlanders Football Club.
Since Bosso’s establishment, the club has won nine championships and quite a number of trophies producing great players like Lawrence Phiri, Josiah Nxumalo, Tymon Mabaleka, Barry Daka and the former Liverpool and Warriors goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar.
In the later years, Bosso produced legendary former Warriors skipper Peter Ndlovu, his brother Madinda and the late Adam, Rahman Gumbo, the late Benjamin Konjera, Willard Mashinkila-Khumalo (late) and Mercedes Sibanda (late), among many others.