Byo Day, a celebration of King Mzilikazi’s arrival in Zim: Mayor

The Bulawayo Day commemorated on June 1 every year, is a celebration of the arrival of the founding Ndebele monarch, King Mzilikazi, in Zimbabwe, the city’s mayor, Solomon Mguni, has said.

King Mzilikazi arrived in Zimbabwe from South Africa in 1839 and founded the Ndebele Kingdom.

The Bulawayo Day coincides with the 127th anniversary of the declaration of Bulawayo as a town.

“As the city of kings, on this day we also celebrate the arrival of Inkosi uMzilikazi and the Ndebele nation in 1839 to the present day Zimbabwe,” said Mguni on the occasion of Bulawayo day celebrations.

“In 1863, king Mzilikazi founded Mhlahlandlela and on February 22 1870, inkosi Lobengula was crowned as king of Ndebele nation. King Lobengula renamed his royal town from Gibixhegu to koBulawayo in 1871. Bulawayo day is therefore a celebration of our identity as a people.  It is also a celebration of Bulawayo’s resilience and strength which comes from its identity, experiences and culture. As a city, we are not only a cultural hub but also a creative engine that has the ability to shift and define mindsets towards a united front in the development of Bulawayo and its people.”

Mguni said Bulawayo as the epicentre of the Matabeleland region is a key cultural pillar that cements the diversity of the tribes, languages, values, customs and culture of the people of Zimbabwe.

“Our celebration of Bulawayo is anchored on our rich history, heritage and legacy,” he said.

As part of the commemorations this year the city is hosting a hybrid of festivals that showcase creative attributes digitally to the global village while minimising the spread of the coronavirus.

 “It is for this reason that we launch the “I love bulawayo” campaign to help rekindle the love we have for Bulawayo from different parts of the world,” said the mayor.

“As we may not be able to meet physically this week, the “I love bulawayo” campaign allows us to share the love we have for the city which is in every fibre and centre of our community and city. The declaration of Bulawayo day by the city on Wednesday, 2nd October 2019 to be celebrated on the 1st of June every year, provides an opportunity to invite the people of Bulawayo in celebration of the distinct and proud heritage, rich diversity and artistic potential that the city is endowed with.

The entire week from the 2nd – 5th of June marks Bulawayo arts festival which provides a platform for social and cultural expression through the integration of arts and information communication technology.

“We once again celebrate the festival amidst the global Covid -19 pandemic hence the need to celebrate together yet apart noting that our bond is not limited to geographical distance,” said the mayor.

“As cities and the world at large are reopening in the ‘ new normal,’ the creative sector plays a critical role in modelling the new culture that we need, to be able to transform ourselves and overcome our challenges. The city of Bulawayo in line with the vision of being a smart and transformative city by 2024, recognises the importance of digital platforms. It is for this reason that the Bulawayo Day and Bulawayo arts festival will also be available on digital platforms so that we can all watch in unity in our various private spaces.”

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