By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE Natural History Museum in London, which has an extensive collection of artefacts, says it does not have First Chimurenga heroine Ambuya Nehanda’s skull as constantly alleged by the Zimbabwean government.
This follows President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s renewed efforts to repatriate Nehanda’s skull which is said to have been taken as a war trophy to a London museum over a century ago.
“Westminster Abbey does not have and has never had the remains of Mbuya Nehanda, or any other Zimbabweans on display, or in store.
“Media reports which claim that we do are inaccurate, and not based upon any evidence,” Josephine Higgins the Museum’s Communications Manager said Friday.
She added, “We have had previous discussion with Zimbabwean officials on this subject but after extensive research have found no evidence to suggest that remains of Mbuya Nehanda or others associated with the First Chimurenga, either in terms of names or origins, are held or have ever been held by the museum.
“We have shared all the information we have with the authorities in Zimbabwe and are continuing discussions with the Zimbabwean government.”
Speaking while officially unveiling the iconic spirit medium’s statue in central Harare last Tuesday, Mnangagwa said bringing back Nehanda’s skull would strengthen the country’s rich heritage.
“The unveiling of the statue of Mbuya Nehanda Nyakasikana is the manifestation of the bold commitment to reconstruct our country’s rich past history,” Mnangagwa said.
“It equally stands as a symbol of unity, identity and an inspiration to present and future generations on the importance of patriotism, loyalty, fortitude and determination to defend and work for our beloved country against any odds.
“We shall however continue to discuss bringing back her skull which was taken to the United Kingdom alongside others.”
Government has for some time been claiming remains believed to be of First Chimurenga heroes and heroines were shipped as war trophies to Europe during the early years of colonial occupation and were still to come back home despite protracted efforts to reclaim them in past years.