Roar of bikes wakes up sleepy Masvingo 

Source: Roar of bikes wakes up sleepy Masvingo | The Herald

Roar of bikes wakes up sleepy MasvingoSome of the bikers who attended the sixth edition of the Great Zimbabwe Rally along Shuvai Mahofa Street in Masvingo City last Saturday

George Maponga in MASVINGO

Shuvai Mahofa Street in Masvingo City, was the perfect setting of a grand finale, the build-up of a three-day motorbikers rally that last Saturday climaxed and ended on a high in a street aptly named after the aggressive and fearless late national heroine whose booming voice still looms large in the memories of the ancient city folk.

The roaring motorbikes brought the country’s oldest town to a standstill the whole day.

On display along Shuvai Mahofa Street was a show by a pack of riders rocking the ancient city under the support of the Great Zimbabawe Rally.

Saturday, April 2 was the finale of a three-day biking extravaganza by more than 120 bikers from Zimbabwe and South Africa who descended in Masvingo City.

This has become an annual event on the Masvingo entertainment calendar.

The bikers wore  bandanas whose colours matched their road machines that growled and roared,  sending shockwaves across Masvingo’s tiny Central Business District.

The bikers were drawn from different motoring clubs in the country and from South Africa.

Headlining the motoring clubs was Titanium Motoring Club arguably the biggest of the lot that has chapters in Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Hwange.

The Chinese-dominated Dragons motoring club of Harare was also part of the show together with Free- Zim Riders(Harare), Survivor and Beitbridge-Musina Motoring Club from neighbouring South Africa.

The bikers had started this year’s Great Zimbabwe Rally on April’s Fool Day and the show along Shuvai Mahofa Street was the climax before the curtain came down on Sunday April 3, when they departed to their different stations.

On show at this year’s biking jaunt were heavy duty machines with big engines whose roaring sounds threatened to crack windows of adjacent shops as the bikers crisscrossed the ancient city CBD while showcasing their skills.

Onlookers could not help but marvel and remain glued to machines such as Kawasaki GTR(2014) and other models including the otherworldly BMW as they roared every time the bikers passed through.

This year’s rally was the sixth to be held in Masvingo since inauguration of the annual event that was last held in the ancient city in 2019, with the two previous editions being hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Great Zimbabwe Rally has been growing in acclaim as evidenced by the numbers that keeping on swelling a every rally.

During the last rally in 2019 there were only 48 bikers ,with the number ballooning to 120 this year, a clear indication that Great Zimbabwe Rally in poised for further growth consolidating Masvingo City’s position as a tourism city.

Local hotels, motels and lodges record brisk business every time the bikers are in town, with the tourism boom being felt far as Great Zimbabwe Hotel, Ancient City Hotel and other resorts in the proximity of Lake Mutirikwi about 25 km south-east of Masvingo City.

Some of the bikers also camped at various places outside the city, bringing brisk business to traders around those places.

The director of Liquids Club Entertainment Joint, Mr Jackson Chivanga, who operates along Shuvai Mahofa Street, where the bikers rally climaxed last Saturday, was all smiles after recording brisk business during the rally.

“We are happy as Masvingo businesspeople because Great Zimbabwe Rally by bikers is boosting tourism and our business booms everytime the rally is in town. I had very good business this time around because the crowd was bigger and the number of bikers has also grown. We look forward to an even bigger event next year now that Covid-19 cases continue to decline,” said Mr Chivanga.

The same sentiments were echoed by Mr Alex Matapura one of the directors of Liquor Emporium, a newly opened liquor-selling joint in the city.

“Our only hope is that the Great Zimbabwe Rally remains an annual event because while we are new in this city we were able to feel the aftershocks of the presence of bikers from all over Zimbabwe and beyond through brisk business.

“The rally is good for our business and it is good for our tourism and will surely catapult Masvingo to the apex of the national tourism map,” said Mr Matapura.

The general manager of Titanium Motoring Club Masvingo chapter Mr Sylvester Chikondo was also upbeat about the future of Great Zimbabwe Rally.

Mr Chikondo said the rally was a boon for Masvingo tourism and was already leaving permanent mark’s on the city tourism calendar.

“The rally has grown this year because we had 120 bikers drawn from around Zimbabwe and South Africa and we had various teams that came to participate which is a sign that the brand is growing, “he said.

“In terms of tourism and putting Masvingo on the map the rally is making a very huge impact. Hotels, lodges and entertainment joints record brisk business during the rally which is good for our tourism as we try to revive the sector which has potential to quickly help the country attain upper middle income economy status by 2030 as envisioned by Government.”

Mr Chikondo appealed to authorities to reduce restrictions at the country’s ports of entry so that international bikers wishing to travel for future events do not face many obstacles.

“We are a country that is open for business and we want this rally that is held annually in Masvingo to continue to grow into a far much bigger event with international acclaim. We want bodies like the  Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to help make it flexible for international bikers to come because they bring in foreign currency,” said Mr Chikondo.

As per tradition during the three-day Great Zimbabwe Rally, the bikers also take time to engage in philanthropic work.

Every time they converge in Masvingo for the rally they make donate to Masvingo Alpha Cottages, a children’s home on the shores of Shakashe River on the eastern fringes of the city.

“This year we handed over groceries and sanitary ware to the children’s home. We do this as a way of giving back to the community and reducing the burden on others who look after underprivileged members of our society,” said Mr Chikondo.

Tracing back the foundations of the Great Zimbabwe Rally and Titanium Motoring Club, Mr Chikondo says their club was founded in 2016 by Harare-based biking enthusiast Mr Pumulani Ncube who was founding president.

Currently Titanium Motoring Club is being led by Mr Terrence Kwaramba who took over reigns last year.

The club was founded out of the desire to break the stranglehold on biking by white people.

“We also wanted to show that blacks were also good bikers and could make a mark just like their white counterparts who dominated biking before Titanium Motoring Club came on stream. We are happy with the direction we are taking and the future looks even brighter,” said Mr Chikondo.

Members at Titanium pay prescribed subscriptions and for one to be a member of the bikers club a Class 3 driver’s licence is a prerequisite.

An aspiring member should also own a personal motorbike.

For Masvingo City it appears its dalliance with the Great Zimbabwe Rally will continue to propel the ancient city higher on the tourism map with permanent marks that will live longer just like the iconic Great Zimbabwe monuments.