It was a hive of activity on the 8th (ball games) and 9th (athletics) of November 2018 as Matendera came alive to yet another successful festival. Each year inter-village tournaments within the Buhera communities are becoming competitive as Matendera Festival gains momentum. This year’s contests were close and hardwon for both ball games and athletics. JM BUSHA 54 was again happy to partner and sponsor the community initiated event. To that effect, top 5 athletes who participated in the 5km, 10km and 21km races had their efforts rewarded handsomely. Meanwhile, the village communities and the Buhera District Council sponsored the trophies for the ball games as well as two beasts/cows and several chickens for the Festival.
The National Museum and Monuments Team were at hand to inform on the importance of the Matendera Ruins and Dzapasi National Monuments. Matendera Ruins were constructed in the 17th Century as Great Zimbabwe State was collapsing, thus the first migrators from Great Zimbabwe built Matendera Ruins and other smaller ruins dotted around Buhera. Dzapasi is the first and biggest Assembly Point marking the end of the Liberation Struggle. JM BUSHA 54 was honoured to be part of a community’s efforts to bring into prominence their heritage sites. The organisation was represented by one of its board members, Mrs Laurence.
The ball games this year witnessed a surge in participation. Male participants were 89 while female participants were 184. Meanwhile, general villager attendance for the 2 days of the festival was over 2 000. The impact of the festival for the village communities is nurturing a sense of pride and unity towards the security of their heritage sites.
The communities understand what it will mean if their monuments become a tourist attraction. This will be a big business opportunity that would change their lives. Already a tent was reserved for an exhibition of local grains and arts and crafts during the Matendera Festival. Visitors to the festival bought the local homegrown grains and other products.
Matendera Festival is an annual event and next year the festival organisers have opened the event to the Nation and SADC. The confidence of hosting such is fed by the peaceful coexistence, commitment and pride of the Buhera communities as they synchronise towards a common purpose.