ZIMBABWE’S second largest metropolitan province, Bulawayo, celebrated its 75 year anniversary,Sunday, since having been declared a city.
Bulawayo was founded in 1870 by King Lobengula, the last of the Ndebele King as his capital after succeeding his father Mzilikazi.
The Ndebele capital was initially named ‘Gibixhegu’ but was later named ‘koBulawayo’ and colonialists made Bulawayo their gateway to settle in Zimbabwe.
Bulawayo attained town status in June 1, 1984 and the first municipal council of nine elected members was formed in November 1897.
But it was in November 4, 1943 that Bulawayo was declared a city.
To commemorate the anniversary, a civic church service was held at Celebration Church Sunday where the current Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni and wife fellowship.
Speaking during the occasion, Mayor Mguni said it was significant that this year’s civic church service fell on a Sunday.
“In previous years the civic service has been commemorated on a Sunday closest to November 4, which in the past has been during the week. To the city of Bulawayo this service allows us to express our gratitude to God Almighty who deserves the honour and glory for the past, present and future of Bulawayo and Zimbabwe,” he said.
The mayor said he was aware that his predecessors had in the past worked closely with churches to organise regular quarterly prayer meetings.
“We thank the religious fraternity for being good custodians of the moral and spiritual fibre of our community. As a council we believe God is working behind the scenes to restore and revive Bulawayo. My council and I remained committed to the development of the city of kings and we are aware that you all have vested your trust for a better city in us. I assure you that if we work together as a team we can take Bulawayo to greater heights.”
Mguni added that residents had to seek divine intervention for the city to achieve its great destiny.
“All things are possible to them who believe and as a city of Bulawayo will be mentioned amongst some of the greatest cities in the world. We pray that the almighty God will bring this to fulfilment,” he said.
The mayor also urged residents to use water sparingly as the city’s dams are 65.7 percent full. “Two of the dams – Upper Ncema is at 27 .5 percent while Umzingwane is at 44.39 percent. We therefore appeal to residents to conserve water. Let us be water wise and use water sparingly,” Mguni appealed.
“Council’s mandate is to provide excellent and efficient services on the other hand have a responsibility to protect municipal infrastructure and pay for their municipal bills timeously. These obligations are stated in our citizen’s charter”.
Founder and Senior Pastor of Celebration Church, Tom Deuschle, also sent a televised message expressing his wishes to the city.
He said: “God has not forsaken Bulawayo, he has a plan for the city and will breathe new life.
Both spiritual and circular leaders have to turn their hearts to God as he answers that what we desperately need.”
The 75th anniversary church service was attended by former Bulawayo mayors, aldermen, councillors, members of the business sector, religious fraternity and residents.