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Veld Fire Near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Consumes Lobengula Reproduction Palace

  • Gibbs Dube

Restoration of the capital was mooted in 1993 and Zulu experts from South Africa helped restore the buildings at a cost of millions of dollars

A veld fire has reduced the reconstructed Old Bulawayo capital of King Lobengula to ashes, says Prince Zwide KaLanga Khumalo, a direct descendant of the Ndebele royal family.

The fire, which started late Monday night and blazed until the early hours of Tuesday, destroyed the reconstructed palace of Lobengula, eight beehive huts, an old wagon shed, a house built for Lobengula by missionaries and another built by the Khumalo clan for traditional rituals.

Khumalo said a site where President Robert Mugabe laid a stone in 1993 to commission the reconstruction of the ancient capital was also reduced to ashes.

King Lobengula’s capital was last set ablaze in 1893 when his rule was threatened by advancing missionaries and armed British colonizers. The king then settled at a site in the present-day Sauerstown suburb, north of Bulawayo and current site of the State House, the president's second home.

Restoration of the capital was mooted in 1993 and Zulu experts from South Africa helped restore the buildings at a cost of millions of dollars.

Khumalo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube he blamed the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe for failing to protect the site. The museums department issued no comment.

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