'Apartheid South Africa kept Rhodesia alive'

HARARE - Apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia had a closer tourism relationship between its white citizens compared to independent  South Africa and Zimbabwe today, a Cabinet minister has sensationally revealed.

Tourism and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi told a gathering in Harare this week during the launch of the country’s Tourism Policy that even in the thick of the war, tourists would be escorted to Rhodesia and Lourenco Marques now Maputo, for a holiday.

“We need to speak politically to these markets beyond the initiative of industry and our tourism authorities. 

“We need to interrogate why at least 30 percent of South Africa’s bona fide 9,9 million international tourists do not visit what used to be the 10th Tourism Province,” said Mzembi.

The Tourism minister wondered whether it was the lack of a tourist visa, that eliminates the need for an unnecessary transit visa, poor product offerings and their pricing or brand perceptional issues that we need to address to tap into this obvious opportunity. 

“We are going to need political engagement beyond the diplomatic niceties captured in our routine MOUs between us. 

“There was clearly a deliberate political effort and affirmative policy to keep Rhodesia alive during its biting sanctions, and Beitbridge Border Post was designed then to be responsive to this market,” said Mzembi.

The Tourism minister said even the road blocks/check points were friendly to that traffic for the intended purpose. “Is it the case today as history repeats itself with Zimbabwe under sanctions? 

“My appeal dear Patron (Vice President Joice Mujuru), is that let us upgrade our dialogue to this level not just with the Republic of South Africa but with China as well.”

Mzembi said the paltry 3 800 - 5 500 visitors to Zimbabwe in 2013 compared to the regional average of 80 000 to 150 000 should be a wakeup call. 

He accused Zimbabweans of fighting daily perception issues that are either sponsored by us, through political rhetoric or self-hate speech through social media by the diaspora, and our national daily papers that are informing opinion on Brand Zimbabwe.  “A monthly balance sheet of editorial spin by our papers speaks to a destination in conflict, yet we are one of the most peaceful country on Earth.” 

Mzembi urged Zimbabweans to embrace Religious Tourism which he said today moves some 300 million international tourists out of the world’s total 1,1 billion travellers. 

The Tourism minister said the church market in Zimbabwe was growing exponentially to the extent that in certain instances its congregants cannot meet under one roof adding that in other countries it has built high tech stadia and arenas as meeting places. 

“I encourage the church to grow their vision too in this direction and start building World Cup 2034 Stadia for us, to facilitate our qualification when the time of bidding comes.”

He said our modern day temples and their associated visions have inspired tourism and hospitality-defined businesses in the form of conferencing facilities, transport SBUs, TV stations, accommodation and restaurant and cuisine entities licensed by his ministry. 

“In reciprocation and in line with my vision, to grow church or faith-based or inspired business, I have extended the provisions of Statutory Instruments 172 and 173 dealing with duty free capital goods and Motor Vehicle Importations to the church sector.”

As for the church, Mzembi said figures at domestic level are believed to be over two billion of the world’s 4,5 to 5 billion domestic travellers. 

“It is this global phenomenon that compels me today to invite the Celebration Centre to join the Zion Christian Church Mbungo in Masvingo as the 2nd such designation of a Religious Tourism facility that I am empowered to do through the Tourism Act. 

“Government honours Celebration Centre Ministries today for their creativity, their dream, particularly its size, and for those of you who have seen Zion Christian Church, Mbungo in Masvingo you will understand why Celebration Centre qualifies for this honour.”

In reference to President Mugabe’s assertion that the “economy was recovering” the Tourism minister said it seemed anyone who signposts recovery of Zimbabwe’s economy today whether in whole or in part has been dismissed with gross disdain as either disconnected to the suffering of the people or as a dreamer. 

“It seems our population is content with pessimism and would rather dig further inside the hole dug for us by our detractors. 

“If it is an opportunity beckoning they would rather pass it to a neighbour state than seize it themselves.”

Mzembi added that this disposition is characteristic of a people whose defences have been shattered or are in ruins, and “I intend immediately to address how we can rebuild the walls, and start believing again that yes, we can, and are and will overcome hardship and crossover to prosperity.”

He said the biblical Egypt in our mind must give way to Canaan, and mental barriers of servitude and self-pity must give way to self-belief and a conquering spirit.  

“A goat tied to a tree, even when freed has difficulty in grazing outside the circumference to which it was bound in bondage.  It is this that we must deal with,” said Mzembi.

The Tourism minister said if we set our minds on rebuilding, on recovery, we must do so unabated.  “Everything becomes a dream until implementation commences.  Policy launches are dreams, and will remain dreams until we start doing something, acting or implementing, and herein lies the biggest mischief in our midst today — implementation or the lack of it. I have a dream!”

Mzembi’s dream is a $5 billion Tourism Economy in Zimbabwe by 2020, in line with Vision 2020 and implemented within the context of ZimAsset. 

“This dream is as big as the current size of our total annual country budget of $4,4 billion as presented by the minister of Finance on December 20, 2013. 

“If you want to live longer you must dream bigger than your current size, so God can give you a longer life to see your dreams through. 

“I have many “over my dead body” friends who never lived to see their dreams because they spoke the impossible, curses and despair.”


Comments (8)

There are 3 problems; 1) The border 2) The Police Road Blocks 3) Mugabe's attitude towards whites

Tiger Shona - 27 July 2014

Cde.Minister, do the numbers of police (ZRP) on our city streets and national highways speak of a country at (voluntary) peace?

Abri - 27 July 2014

Zimbabwe has the highest AIDS rates in Southern Africa, so Mzembi stop lying and put your house in order before inviting people to a problematic destination.

PHD - 27 July 2014

Actually, Rhodesia was a better country to live in than Zimbabwe. When we went to war we thought were going to liberate ourselves but little did we know that we were ushering ourselves into total dictatorship bondage where we would slaughtered for opposing a leader. We didn't know that it was going to be the end of easy and cheap life, cheap houses and every cheap thing. We had imagined Zimbabwe as a heaven we were going to create for ourselves. but instead we got HELL. and it doesn't look like we will get out of it because the perpetrator wants to maintain it at all costs. Oh what a beautiful country Rhodesia and what a Zimbabwe we had imagined we would create out of the Rhodesia. A wrong beginning and perpetuation of suffering. Oh God deliver from evil please, please. please - the quicker the better.

clement moyo - 28 July 2014

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On this article, Mzembi was on track saying stuff that makes sense until he strayed off to his hosting of the 2034 World cup dream. In all seriousness Mr. Mzembi, where in the world do we have congregations building olympic size churches that can accomodate multitudes of soccer fans? Let us improve the efficiency at our border posts and reduce police road blocks for starters, then at least we might gain that South Africa's 10th province status again you so wish for.

Dr Know - 28 July 2014

Walter, your bosses empty political rhetoric does more damage to Zimbabwe brand than all those other things combined. The tourist will go where they feel they will have a great experience (potholes, power shortages, water shortages etc dont actually help to attract the kinds of tourist with serious spending power). Back packers dont mind roughing it as they tend to be after such an experience and or are on a shoe string budget.

Galore 123 - 28 July 2014

The trouble with this country of ours, and our leaders, is that they cant see a good thing when it hits them between the eyes. Look at the looting of the Save Valley Conservancy and now the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe area around Hwange Safari Lodge, ruined by greed and land grabbing by those connected to government elite. So much potential and so little care. Why would intelligent and knowing tourists come here when they can go to countries who actually display a willingness to do something for their wildlife, instead of for themselves? Religious tourism indeed! Forgodsake! (no pun intended). Here we are with a country full of the last great wildlife on earth, and we have to settle for religious tourism to try to bring in people. Understand the potential of what we already have, before trying to create something we have no hope in hell of ever having.

Simba - 30 July 2014

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