Mugabe's birthday bash to be held in park where Rhodes is buried

2017-01-12 10:00
President Robert Mugabe at his 91st birthday in the resort town of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. (File: AP)

President Robert Mugabe at his 91st birthday in the resort town of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. (File: AP)

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Harare - President Robert Mugabe is out of Zimbabwe on holiday but his supporters are already planning his 93rd birthday party next month - and it'll be held in the rock-studded national park that British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes is buried in.

Fund-raisers under the banner of the 21st February Movement organise the mega-party to mark the ageing president's birthday, changing the venue each year.

This time the chosen site is the Matopo National Park, about half an hour's drive from the second city of Bulawayo in the south of the country, according to the state broadcaster ZBC.

Mugabe's birthday is on February 21 although his party is almost never on that exact date. 

Said ZBC: "Matabeleland South province will this year host the 21st February Movement, with the Matopo National Park named as the venue for this year’s celebrations."

Rhodes is buried at the World's View site deep inside the park, a rock plateau with stunning views. Supporters of Mugabe threatened to dig up his remains last year in solidarity with the #RhodesMustFall student movement in South Africa. It's unlikely Mugabe's party would be held at the burial site: there are large expanses of flat grassland nearer to the main entrances.

Last year the celebrations were held at the Great Zimbabwe Monument in Masvingo, a Unesco World Heritage site. The ruins, which date back to between the 11th and 15th centuries, are of deep historic significance to Zimbabweans.

There's no word yet on how much the festivities will cost, although last year the bill was said to be around $1 million.

Zimbabwe is in the grips of a worsening cash squeeze, with the payment of civil servants' salaries regularly delayed. The central bank recently introduced "bond notes", a form of paper money that has no value outside the country.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  cecil john rhodes  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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