There is an unwritten law that in any human settlement set-up, one has to come up with some form of outdoor family recreational facilities, which cater for weekend outings.
travelling & touring:with Burzil Dube
To some, it may prove to be taboo, especially in this modern economic age where everything is now linked to how deep would be an individual’s pocket.
If one is to decide to go out on a picnic, the first thing that comes to mind is the site’s proximity and the so-called expenses associated with such an outing.
Picnic enthusiasts usually find the going rather tougher as suitable or identified places become scarce and one is forced to move mountains in search of a conducive place.
About seven “moons” ago, yours truly in one of the Travel and Touring articles, highlighted on the drought of picnic sites in the coal mining town of Hwange.
This controversial highlight was tackled by one Innocent Tshuma whose steady contribution to domestic tourism is gradually making him a force to reckon with in the town’s hospitality industry.
One could safely say that Tshuma, the Hwange-born and bred businessman, had seen it all in the world of ‘hustling’, which is street lingo for entrepreneurial skills.
In fact the town is among the few upcoming urban centres without any of the so-called outdoor family eatery sites or any other related establishments.
To the uninitiated, Hwange town is popularly known for being home to the country’s largest coal deposits as well as its hot weather conditions.
The name itself is also synonymous with Hwange National Park, which somehow competes with leading animal sanctuaries in Africa south of the Sahara.
While the coal mining town is endowed with various appetising features, it has somehow in the past been lagging behind on provision and availability of outdoor recreational facilities.
That is a fact.
Such facilities were fully operational when most of the town’s infrastructure was under the ownership of Anglo American Corporation, a multinational organisation.
Currently, most of these picnic sites are a pale shadow of themselves, hence the need for a complete overhaul, which would be in tandem with modern outdoor activities and facilities.
Enter Innocent Tshuma whose hospitality entrepreneurial skills are slowly changing the face of the coal mining town through the Mabhiza Family Entertainment Centre.
As the centre’s name suggests, during the Anglo American Corporation era, the place was only popular for horse riding pastime activities especially during weekends.
Whoever chose this particular place that is situated adjacent to Hwange Colliery Company’s affluent low-density suburbs deserves special mention in the coal mining town’s history books.
Mabhiza had been lying derelict for more than 20 years until it took the ingenuity of Tshuma with his two fellow directors, Nkosiyabo Moyo and Lesley Kwidini.
The trio managed to completely renovate the site which is now a favourite place for those interested in picnics and other related outings.
Yours truly, after numerous failed attempts, managed to trace and pin down the elusive Tshuma at this particular recreational centre where he laid out the trio’s plans for the area.
According to Tshuma, they discovered that there was an acute shortage of family entertainment centres where kids can also have some fun.
The centre, which became operational two years ago, today boasts of a number of thatched gazebos whose lattice pavilion structures are ideal for outdoor dining as well family entertainment.
There is also a sandy volley ball pitch while the kids’ playing ground has all sorts of equipment from trampolines to climb, crawl and stretch equipment whose durability matchs international standards.
Mabhiza, as it is popularly known, is also proving to be a popular lunchtime eating place for those working within the colliery concession area and surrounding entities especially during weekdays.
Tshuma said plans were at an advanced stage to resume horse riding activities in Hwange because a Victoria Falls-based businessman has expressed willingness to lease a number of stallions to Mabhiza Family Leisure Centre.
They are in the process of tying up some loose ends concerning this particular deal.
Tshuma said the coal mining town was endowed with a rich historical background, which the entertainment centre is looking at ways to tap this.
After all is said and done, this sleepy coal mining town is slowly becoming a force to reckon with in resuscitation and improvement of family entertainment and leisure facilities.
When yours truly previously lamented on the town’s dearth of family outdoor facilities such as picnic sites, among others, he was lambasted and accused of majoring on the minors.
Tshuma and his partners identified an opportunity whose crowdfunding efforts could result in resuscitation of horse riding activities, which is a boost in promotion of domestic tourism.
Like a proverbial phoenix, the town could be slowly rising and the dream is gradually becoming a reality and in the process contributing to Hwange’s economic and social development.
Till we meet in the next article.
l Comments always welcome on: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @DubeBurzil