Central Region,Gweru

Background

Zimbabwe Military Museum
The Zimbabwe Military Museum, located in the former ramshackle gold mining village, Gweru, is the only museum of its nature in Zimbabwe. The Museum focuses on the research and other museological endeavours in the military field, thereby liaising with the army, air force and police. The Museum opened its doors to the public on the 24th o f January 1974 as the Midlands Museum, which was changed to the current name in 1985.

Military Museum 


Departments

Militaria Department

The department of Militaria carries out research in the Army, Air Force and Police Collections and exhibitions. There are three main galleries depicting collections under Militaria and these are the Army Gallery, the Air Force Gallery and the Police Gallery.

Armoured aircraft exhibition

 



Focus On Exhibitions

The museum houses different galleries with exhibitions focusing on the military field, air force and police. The army gallery illustrates the development of military equipment from about the 16th century through the colonial period to the liberation war. The foyer area of the museum also provides display space for temporary exhibitions. These are subject to change every three months on a quarterly basis.

The Army Gallery

 
Military & armoured vehicles 

The Army Gallery depicts the history of the first and Second Chimurenga to the end of the Second Chimurenga/Liberation War in 1980 and the formation of the present Zimbabwe National Army.

Outside the gallery are the Stuart tank and the Russian tank to complement the support that ZANU PF Party received from the Eastern Block against the enemy.


The Police Gallery

The gallery exhibits the history of the Police starting from the inception of the British South African Police [BSAP] through to the present Zimbabwe Republic Police [ZRP].

The Guinea Fowl Memorial Gallery
The gallery exhibits memorabilia of the place known as Guinea Fowl and its tradition of education and training spanning the period 1940 – 1978 when it was used in turn as an Air Force Training School, a Mining Training Centre and finally a formal education institution.

The Aviation Gallery
This gallery depicts the history of both Civil and Military Aviation in this country. The gallery clearly outlines the determination of the Early settlers in establishing aviation in this country, the formation of the various squadrons and eventually the establishment of Thornhill Airbase in the City of Gweru leading to the establishment of an Air Force Museum Cum Zimbabwe Military Museum.

The Aviation Museum
About half a kilometer south of the Military Museum is the Trim Park Aviation Museum built on the 3,4 hectares of land donated to the Museum by the City of Gweru. The Aviation Museum is slowly taking shape after the construction of the Double Hangar, which now exhibits various Aircraft, donated to the Museum by both the Air Force of Zimbabwe and Air Zimbabwe.

 

Monuments and sites

Dhlodhlo/Danan’mombe National Monument.
Dhlodhlo was declared a National Monument Number 5 in July 1937. It lies approximately 86km Southwest of Gweru and 92km northeast of Bulawayo.

The monument is accessible through an all season gravel road which branches off the Gweru and at Insiza from Bulawayo. Danan’ombe was the capital of the Rozvi state from about 1693 to the early 1800’s.

It became the capital of the Rozvi after Changamire defeated the Torwa dynasty at Khami near Bulawayo. Archaeology there is no clear distinction between the occupational layers of the Torwa and the Rozvi although traditions and documentary evidence suggests that Danan’mombe was occupied bi different groups of the people at different times.

It is likely that when Rozvi took control of the State, the Torwa people were absorbed and continued their way of life. At its peak, Dana’ombe must have accommodated between 6 000 and 10 000 people.

Major attractions at Danan’mombe/Dhlodhlo National Monument:
Site Museum with outstanding artefacts from Danan’mombe and related sites
• Khami type stone walling and terracing
• Exposed house structures and grain bins
• Geological formations
• Peaceful and scenic environment

Dhlodhlo Site Museum

Dhlodhlo site museum

The Museum built at Dhlodhlo National Monument exhibits artifacts that were excavated from this historical and archaeological site by various archaeologists.

The artifacts also include those excavated from the other National Monuments close to it like Naletale and Regina.

All artifacts are ethnographic making it a Cultural Museum.

 

 

Manyanga/Ntabazikamambo National Monument.

The Rozvi rulers resided at Danan’mombe and nearby Zimbabwes of Naletale, Zinjanja/Regina, Manyanga/Ntabazikamambo from the 1680’s to the 1830’s. The Rozvi dominated the region until the Nguni invasions of the 1830’s.

Tradition has it that the last of the Changamires Chirisamhuru was slain by the Nguni at Manyanga 70km Northwest of Danan’mombe. Manyanga is situated in the Bubi District of Matabeleland North Province.

The hills have a long history of occupation with typical Leopards Kopje and Khami phase pottery some of which can still be seen scattered on the ground. To the west of the main settlement area some overhangs contain some rock painting whilst caves have grain bins of the 19th century period. Archaeological investigations have shown that the site was occupied throughout most phases of Zimbabwe history.

At Manyanga, the legend of the Rozvi Mambos manifested itself into a traditional rain making ceremony cult.

Other Related Stone Walled Monuments

Numerous Khami period Zimbabwes are scattered in the Insiza District and they are all thought to have been the out posts of the Rozvi sub-rulers.

 

Naletale
Despite Natalatele’s aerial extent, is architecturally the most satisfying of all the monuments not only in the region but in the entire country. This ruin decorated with five different patterns i.e. the chevron, check, Herringbone, Dentelle and Cord. It is also believed to have been a retreat for the Royal Family that is, the King relaxed or retired there from his daily state of affairs.

Regina/Zinjanja
A very exciting Wedding Cake Structure still remains. Oral history has it that this centre was once the residence of a Rozvi spirit medium known as Zinjanja. Some people also claim that area was renowned for its breed of indigenous cattle knows as Njanja.

This breed was said to be diminutive but resistant to both disease and drought. The Nguni invasions and the coming of colonial rule dislocated the Rozvi people resulting in a number of distortions to the history of the area. This led to some changes in the names of some of the monuments, for example Danan’mombe was renamed Dhlodhlo by the Ndebele after one of their sub-chiefs.

A hill to the south of the monument is known by the same name. Naletale was probably known as Nhandare or Nharetare. Zinjanja was renamed Regina by the Europeans in the 1890’s following the Queen Victoria’s golden Jubilee.

Rock Art
Rock Art is one of the most significant and informative sources used by historians and archaeologists. Archaeologists use Rock Art to determine the socio-economic and political activities of past societies.

It is until you know the significance of a painting, that you can understand its aesthetic, political, religious and economic values. Rock Art is a creation of a people/society, which probably lived and experienced most of what they then engraved or painted on rock surfaces. Archaeologists have been able to infer to some social activities they practised such as ceremonies and associated dances, hunting and gathering.

The Central region boosts of Rock Art sites / paintings such as Impali Dam, Mt Bokai, Greystones Farm, Kraansport Farm, Sebakwe Dam as well as Bhankalewenka Hill among many others.

Historical Buildings

The Central Region has some beautiful Historic Buildings located. The most prominent of these being the Magistrate’s Court and the Stock Exchange buildings (Gweru), the Phoenix House and the Paper House (Kwekwe).

There is also the Gaika House that was translocated from its original site after it was sold to Dr Edwards for just one dollar. All these buildings are architecturally and historically significant as there were constructed prior to 1st January 1910, hence may not be altered without the consent of NMMZ.

Most of this architecture and structures are no longer in existence, and these include the Victorian style. Some of the historic buildings mark certain important events such as the Station Building constructed in 1903 when the first train arrived in the city of Gweru.

Memorial Forts
All the Pioneer Forts and Memorials are considered historical since they were built between 1893 and 1897. This period is characterised by the political and social upheavals relating to the colonisation process and the subsequent resistance by indigenous communities. Memorials are a reminder of what has passed away and cannot return therefore preserving them is preserving our past, which constitute our history.

It is this past that has shaped our present. Forts and memorials in the Central region include the Pongo Memorial, Cunningham Memorial, Fort Gibbs and Sikombela Detention Camp.

The Paper House
The Paper House is the focal point of the National Mining Museum. This prefabricated building whose walls are made of papier mache (paper pulp) and wire mash, is the only survivor of three such buildings BROUGHT IN Rhodesian from London. It was built in 1894 as the home and later the offices of the first Mine Manager of the Globe and Phoenix mine, Mr H.A Piper (who later died of pneumonia in 1917).

The Paper House is believed to have been once a stop over point for Cecil John Rhodes during his sporadic visits to Rhodesia. This structure was proclaimed a historic building and national monument in 1975. The Paper House has survived in fairly good condition.

Due to neglect over the years, the Paper House had deteriorated to such an extend that it would have warranted total destruction, thus the same fate the other two such prefabricated houses faced in the early 1900s. Most of the artefacts in The Paper House are original.

Renovations of the Paper House began in 19 ___, and this involved new paperboard installations. The paper was donated by ________. It has been restored recently to a near original condition - thanks to the generous assistance of the Kwekwe Rotary Club and other donors.

 



Contact Us

   
Zimbabwe Military Museum
  Lobengula Avenue, Civic Centre
  PO Box 1300,
  Gweru, Zimbabwe.

    +263-54-22816