The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has lined up a number of activities in the city, which include performances by various arts as part of the Bulawayo Day and Arts Festival commemorations.
Performances will be held at various community halls dotted around the city.
On the 1st of June 1894, the city of Bulawayo was established as a town while the local authority declared the same day as the Bulawayo Day in October 2019 marking annual commemorations.
Subsequently, the 2nd to the 5th of June marks Bulawayo Arts Festival Week.
“Today is a very special day for the city which is June 1 and is the day where we celebrate Bulawayo Day,” said BCC Corporate Communications Manager, Nesisa Mpofu.
“The 1st of June is key because it established the municipality but as a people, we are all aware that we existed before the first of June. We all know our founding fathers Inkosi uMzilikazi and Inkosi uLobengula built their royal houses eMhlahlandlela and it was later named Gibixhegu to Bulawayo in 1871 which was established at Mahlabathini.”
She said the day allows residents of the country’s second-largest city to celebrate their diversity.
“Bulawayo Day is key because as a city it allows us to celebrate our identity, our culture, our values and also who we are,” said Mpofu.
“It is a celebration of arts, a celebration of creativity and a celebration of unity. We all know that Bulawayo is a cosmopolitan metropolitan city and province and as such we have a diversity of cultures, a diversity of tribes and beliefs and values.”
This year’s Bulawayo Arts Festival, Mpofu said, is not as profound as the last year’s largely because of the prevailing economic challenges.
“As a city, we have partnered with different partners and stakeholders that have come on board to celebrate with us,” said Mpofu.
One of the major highlights of the Arts Festival will be the Young Leaders Conference.
“On Saturday the 4th of June the City of Bulawayo and its partners will come together to host what we call the Young Leaders’ Conference where we are bringing in junior parliamentarians, junior councillors as well as head boys and head girls from the city’s schools to interact and be imparted by strong business leaders that are attending the conference,” explained Mpofu.
Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni also emphasized the importance of the day.
“The celebration of Bulawayo did not start in the last few years, it has been going on and can be recalled when we celebrated our 125 years,” said Mguni.
“As Council and as partners, it would be good for us to have activities that allow us to celebrate our culture and our identity, however, it is noted that we are in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic.”
He added: “Furthermore, when we look at the City’s finances, financially we are not able to have the celebrations as extensive as we would want them to be. We have been working with partners who have been supporting us in having these celebrations. We are very grateful for the partnerships.”