Matopos Siding

Called ‘The Matopos’ this siding is no longer in use. Its close enough to the main Kezi Rd for a quick stop in…and the grove of trees nearby – wow – to die for!

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The siding is not far from the road leading in the Matopos Police station along this grassy track. You can just see the cattle loading ramp hidden in the trees. Built from thick steel bars, its still going strong, unlike the sign that used to read “The Matopos.”

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This view (above) is the one anyone hanging out of a carriage window would have seen as they approached the siding.

Cecil John Rhodes left a provision in his will for a spur line to be added onto the railway so people could visit the Matopos. Right next to this halt, a hotel was built for visitors and day trippers. I’m guessing it was wooden and got eaten by termites in time! On this website I found some photos: http://zimfieldguide.com/matabeleland-south/matopos-railway-terminus

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As I walked towards the siding I detoured into the grove of Umkhaya on my right.

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http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=125910

Click on this link for an Umkhaya tree.

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Centenary Park, Bulawayo

I recently received an email from a follower of my blog who doesn’t come from Bulawayo. She suggested I give more background about the places I photograph. So here goes. Please let me know what you think and if any of you have memories of the Centenary exhibition, Id love to hear about them.

The Centenary Park is close enough to our home in Suburbs, to walk but I went in the car cos I took Lizzy – and she is just a little puppy, with little legs!

That is my story, and I’m sticking to it.)

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Until 1953 (The Rhodes Centenary Exhibition) this park was called the “Central Park,” close to the first suburb in Bulawayo, called “Suburbs!” How original! I’m told the south side is officially still Central Park, but no one calls it that, everyone calls it the Centenary Park. Central Park is best known for the fountain where lots of newly weds have their photos taken. I took this photo with the light behind it, shining through the jacaranda tree behind.

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I took another pic later – an unusual view – but actually I was after that lovely ‘avenue’ through the trees in the distance.

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One of Bulawayo’s main roads runs right through the park – it used to be called “Selborne Avenue” named after the British High Commissioner to South Africa, (back in 1905) but now has been changed to Leopold Takawira a war hero of the Zimbabwe Liberation Struggle.

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Below is also looking west down L Takawira.

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In this pic (above) I’m standing with my back to the fountain looking towards Bulawayo. If you drive 1000 km in the other direction, you will get to Johannesburg, South Africa!

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The trees are huge and shady and I LOVE the palms!

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I’m guessing they have grown rather, since the Rhodes Centenary Exhibition, which was a pretty big affair, by all accounts, with royalty attending and all! Rhodes, born in 1853 came to Africa and made heaps of money! A commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of his birth was opened by the Queen Mother, in July 1953. (This country was still a British colony then.) Several of the events were held in this park. Rhodes, who founded the country we now know as Zimbabwe, is buried in the Matopos, about 50km from Bulawayo. I have previously posted photos on my blog here.

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The municipal caravan park is  just behind those trees.

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I want one of these in my garden!!! Its SO cute, so colonial!

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Her bright yellow jacket goes well in a park!

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The paths are plenty wide enough for both Lizzy and I, and park workers.

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I timed my visit to catch the evening light, and I think it worked OK.

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The smell under this tree is divine! That’s the park office behind the tree.

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This last photo is of the Museum, on the North side of the road in the Centenary Park. I do like the candle-light!

 

 

Khami Ruins…

The ruins are very close to Bulawayo; an easy drive through the Western Suburbs and industrial sites. Well kept, the paths neatly cut with good signage, makes Khami a great place to spend an afternoon.

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I’ve posted this pic first, because its the most impressive facade and the wall most people know at Khami.

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I love the way the builders just included the rocks in the wall!

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A slightly different view of the wall and right up above this section on the left, is this:

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Thought to be built by the Portuguese, this cross was reconstructed in 1939, so it could have been any shape. The pic (below) shows the rock with the cross on it.

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I’m always fascinated by the inhabitants of the Ruins of Zimbabwe! Wonder what they would tell us from stories passed down! I got sidetracked by this little guy!

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He climbs down rocks – head first! Amazing little fella. I followed him around the rock until eventually he got sick of me and disappeared into a crevice.

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This is a close up of a section of the steps – those holes must have held poles – but holding what up? Again, as at Great Zimbabwe, that mortar above the rocks is pretty hard wearing and its an aggregate, I’m told, almost as hard as cement. Perhaps large sections of the ruins were once plastered with this? Who knows?

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This pic (above) shows those slots in the brick work …perhaps they held up a portico?

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Like many of the other ruins in Zim, the walls are pretty thick with wide open doorways.

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And they are often constructed in tiers, filled in with soil…

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Would you believe when the settlers arrived, they built a dam – right over the top of this site????

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As you can see, the wall has collapsed in several places, and unless the dam empties, it will be pretty hard to repair.

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These two pics were taken from the “outlook point.”

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Museum at Great Zimbabwe…

Yup, there is a cute museum at the Great Zimbabwe Monument, no pics I’m afraid, its strictly forbidden.

In the main section are scaled reconstructions of the ruins; history, artefacts found over the years, and then at the far end, a sort of cave with the Zimbabwe bird and the other sculptures found at Great Zimbabwe. Most of them were taken away, some to Germany, others to Capetown, although all but one, have been returned. Each one as a number assigned to it and a description of sorts. I can find no images of them on the internet, and I wish the museum, since they forbid photos, would produce a catalogue for visitors. A curator, who is probably a policeman too, stood at one side, checking we didn’t take any pics, or nick the Zimbabwe Bird.

Since I couldn’t take pics of the real one, I’ve inserted a stone sculpture by Arlington Muzondo; his version of a Zimbabwe Bird!!!! Arlington originally comes from Masvingo area, where he was born in 1974. Who knows, maybe he is descended from the people who carved the stones in the museum.

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This sculpture, and about 35 others will be on his exhibition on the 22nd May 2016. Below is a detail of the lovely colours in the stone…

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Directly opposite the soapstone display, in the Great Zimbabwe Monument museum, is a glassed display containing several smaller artefacts found at the Ruins. One, an object that looks sort of like a cow, but with lots of openings dotted about on its body.  Apparently the spirit medium makes a fire in there and divines depending on how the smoke goes…The curator told us its a very sacred, holy object and that if one should breathe in the fumes when lit, “things wouldn’t go well for you.”

(holy cow!!)

He continued… “And that,” he pointed to a grey stone dildo, about 6 inches tall, “is what older women used to teach young girls…” pointing to a pic of the conical tower added, “It is thought that this is a symbol of male dominance…”

Since I am unable to use the poster of the conical tower in the museum, I’ve put up one of my own. Can you believe the gargantuan effort that went into building THIS? And its just solid stone…it is not functional!

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Looking back at the little dildo, and the rather larger one on the wall, I nodded, agreeing with him.

“Yes, I think you are right. Definitely phallic symbols, made by men, to symbolise their dominance. They have to you see.”

Clearly, the guy was puzzled. “They have to?”

I shrugged.

“Yes, of course. Women don’t need to go around building huge symbols in a desperate effort to demonstrate their power, they already know they are powerful. You see, women don’t need men.”

Clearly, a rather radical idea such as this, spoken so confidently, had never occurred to him, nor that twenty-four out of twenty-five men are redundant.

He most certainly couldn’t accept that a world run by women (with a few men allowed for fertilisation purposes) could possibly work.

It sure would be a very, very different one to that which we have today.

Would it be a better world? Who knows?