Lupane district last week made history by staging a cultural carnival to commemorate King Lobengula’s crossing of the Tshangane River for his battle against the Allan Wilson patrol in 1893.
Dubbed Pupu-Tshangane Carnival, the first of its kind, was headlined by music, dance, paintings, poetry showcase and art stalls where locals sold different artefacts.
Speaking on the sidelines of the carnival, one of the organisers and arts veteran, Cont Mhlanga of Amakhosi Cultural Tours, said the carnival was aimed at identifying and preserving the culture and heritage of the local community.
“Our communities are rich of history that is not being shared widely and the history of King Lobengula should be preserved, thus we are remembering his historic crossing of the Tshangane River en route to the battle against the Allan Wilson patrol in 1893.
“We should remember this historic event, more than 10 000 Matebele regiments crossed the river.”
Between Gomoza and Lupaka there is a historical monument called Pupu, which is widely believed to be the tombs where bodies of the white regiments and King Lobengula’s army were buried.
Participants arrived at Malunku as early as 9am and marched to the Tshangane River tracing the route, which was used by King Lobengula and his regiments. After crossing the river, different cultural groups and renowned artistes like Albert Nyathi and Derick Mpofu led attendants into a party of song and dance.
“This is an amazing event that has been organised by Cont Mhlanga. He has led by example that if we don’t take the lead in our works, no one will ever do anything for us,” he said.
“This event will surely grow into a bigger and annual showcase. I am impressed to see people coming from as far as Masvingo, Harare and Chinhoyi for the cultural display and exchange event.”
The first cultural event to be organised in Lupane after Mhlanga had retired from Amakhosi Cultural Centre and relocated to his rural area was in 2016 where arts veteran held a cultural workshop to concertise locals on the importance of their community and heritage.
Last year the locals took control of the event, and this year they have taken it further by organising a carnival.