BY BURZIL DUBE
LAST week’s piece on the gradual demise of village tourism in Hwange drew some interesting comments from Pezhuba Pachena, a Hwange-based cultural dance group that had lined up various activities for this type of hospitality industry.
Those not in the loop about this traditional group, it is gradually proving to be a force to reckon with especially in the travel and touring business.
Lucky Munzambwa, artistic director of the nine-member cultural ensemble, wrote feedback to Yours Truly that had it not been for the Covid-19 pandemic, they were nearly roped in as part of the Hwange village tourism escapade.
“Foreign tourists were interested in visiting Lwendulu long-distance bus terminus and Kamandama memorial site.
“We were supposed to welcome them at Victoria Falls Airport, Renkini (bus terminus) as well as at the memorial site.
“However, this could not happen due to the onset of Covid-19,” lamented the softspoken Munzambwa, whose group was meant to harvest rich pickings during the tour.
If this particular village tourism jaunt was to happen today, Munzambwa and his fast-growing group would have nothing to show as the town’s infrastructure is now beyond its sell-by date.
Facts are stubborn at times.
Talking of village tourism, Yours Truly in last week’s instalment of travel and touring highlighted the yesteryear status of road network systems administered by Hwange Local Board (HLB).
The same also applied to infrastructure falling under the purview of Hwange Colliery Company and Zimbabwe Power Company.
It seems the powers-that-be at the local authority are trying their level best in addressing a plethora of issues and most of them focused on infrastructure-related issues.
Residents are breathing fire over poor service delivery as well as the slow pace of the local authority’s expansion plans.
Anyway, that is beside the point as this week’s focus is on the waning tourism opportunities in this coal mining town especially on priceless village tours.
While HLB has recently done a commendable job in thee rehabilitation of major roads within its area of jurisdiction, a lot still needs to be done on their maintenance as well.
However, the majority of roads constructed in residential areas are now hazardous to vehicles and even to pedestrians, hence are a hindrance to any form of village touring.
The local authority’s yesteryear glory of enjoying tourism spinoffs from the adjacent Victoria Falls needs to be revived if the town is to reclaim its place as a pacesetter in village tourism.
The above-mentioned challenges are not peculiar to HLB, but to most urban settlements where such problems could be traced back to the era of the First Republic. More of this in future episodes.
Across town, the road network infrastructure in the colliery concession area is somehow better and showing signs of improvement even though more could be done if financial ability is anything to go by.
Although the “scenic” Stadium Road is regularly maintained, Yours Truly is of the opinion that most, if not all, speed humps within this highway need to be reconfigured as they are gradually becoming a threat to vehicles.
A good example are the two humps which are situated diametrically opposite one of the colliery’s departmental offices along this particular busy road.
Yours Truly is not a fundi in civil works, but if one comes to a speed hump which is slowly becoming a candidate for weathering, then some form of remedial action has to be taken on the affected features.
The same also applies to other humps which are adjacent to the popular long-distance bus terminus where steel wiring is dangerously protruding in one of these speed-limiting structures.
Forewarned is forearmed on such issues. The annual Kamandama commemorations are going to be held within the next two weeks as mining industry players pay homage to the 427 miners who perished in the Kamandama underground mining shaft.
This sad event happened on June 6, 1972 and is always commemorated on an annual basis on this particular date.
While this event is of historical importance in the country’s mining calendar, it can also be a boon in Hwange district’s tourism promotion initiative especially on village touring.
However, more needs to be done in terms of marketing the place as well as regular sprucing of the place.
Till we meet again.
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