Walter Mswazie in Masvingo
UNITED States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Brian Nichols, on Tuesday signed a US$475 000 grant for the rehabilitation of the Great Zimbabwe Monument under the US Ambassador’s fund for cultural preservation.
The grant will finance restoration of structures at the monument, modernising security systems, combating destructive herbs and training personnel on world standards.
Mr Nichols signed on behalf of the US government and the other signatories were the World Monuments Fund director Mr Stefan Battle and National Museums and Monuments executive director, Dr Godfrey Mahachi.
In an interview after the tour, Mr Nichols said he was amazed by the world heritage site saying his country was committed to the preservation of natural wonders of such magnitude.
“This is my first trip outside Harare since my arrival in Zimbabwe and I chose Great Zimbabwe as it is a symbol of Zimbabweans’ hard work. The United States of America has contributed US$475 000 for the preservation of such sites in Zimbabwe.
“I was also fascinated by this natural wonder in its entirety although the great enclosure is magnificent as it shows rich archaeological history of how people in Zimbabwe lived 200 years ago. I would have loved to get a view from the top. I will invite those interested in world history to visit this gorgeous and magnificent historical monument,” he said.
Mr Battle said the project was going to create jobs for locals.
“We are going to improve security systems through installation of CCTV and improve connectivity under this fund. We are going to ensure that the site remains as majestic as it is,” he said.
“We also thank the Great Zimbabwe monument community for entrusting World Monuments Fund, which is the largest non-governmental organisation in the world, with the responsibility to help in the restoration and preservation of such a magnificent world wonder.”
The Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation assists individuals and organisations to preserve museum collections, ancient and historic sites and traditional forms of expression, thereby helping to reinforce cultural identity and community solidarity.
Dr Mahachi applauded World Monuments Fund and the US Embassy for assisting in the restoration of Great Zimbabwe Monument.