George Maponga in Masvingo
The phased rehabilitation and upgrading of surveillance systems at the Great Zimbabwe Monuments World Heritage Site has stalled owing to the Covid-19 pandemic that is sweeping across the globe.
The rehabilitation programme was approved by Government through the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) and entailed site conservation, installation of modern wall movement reading equipment and clearance of the intrusive Lantana Camara plant that has invaded the historic site, distorting its natural attractiveness.
Located about 25kms south-east of the ancient city of Masvingo, the heritage site is a relic of the once mighty capital of the Munhumutapa Empire at its peak around the 12th century.
The monuments have strikingly remained standing to date despite being built without mortar, with only rocks balancing atop each other.
NMMZ regional manager Mr Lovemore Mandima said Covid-19 derailed the programme to spruce up the monuments.
He said with movement of people heavily curtailed by the novel virus, experts to spearhead installation of modern surveillance cameras and clear Lantana Camara were not able to travel into the country.
Mr Mandima hinted work would only kick-off after containment of the deadly pandemic that has ravaged the globe.
International consultants were hired by Government via NMMZ to give recommendations on the planned rehabilitation programme, while making sure the work does not impinge on the originality of the stone structures.
Taming the Lantana Camara plant is key in maintaining the splendor and firmness of the stone structures, while modern surveillance equipment is handy, especially in identifying recurrent threats like veldt fires.
Great Zimbabwe was accorded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 1986 and Zimbabwe derives its name from the imposing stone structures.