Patrick Chitumba, feature film
THE Zimbabwe Military Museum (ZMM) located in Gweru, is the only museum of its nature in Zimbabwe.
The museum focuses on research and other museological efforts in the military field, thus liaising with the military, air force, and police.
The museum opened to the public in 1974 as the Midlands Museum, which was changed to the current name in 1985.
Gweru ZMM serves as the country’s national military and aviation museum. Various exhibits trace the history of the army, air force and police.
As the country commemorates heroes and defense forces today and tomorrow, a the Chronicle the press team made a tour of the museum to understand its importance.
Catching the eye of the visitor at ZMM are two massive main tanks placed a few meters from the museum’s main entrance. On the right is the Stuart M-3 MK1 tank (USA) and on the left is the USSR T34 tank.
Visitors can view aircraft engines, uniforms and equipment associated with Zimbabwe’s military history in the museum’s galleries including the foyer, military history gallery, armored vehicle hangar, police gallery , the Guinea Fowl School Memorial Hut and the Artillery Shed.
The entrance to the Military History Gallery features the two key figures of the Chimurenga (Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi) and King Ndebele Lobengula to signify their importance during the liberation struggle.
The entire gallery is filled with illustrations and short profiles of nationalists such as Cde Josiah Chinamano, Cde Herbert Chitepo, the late father Zimbabwe Cde Joshua Nkomo and Cde Leopold Takawira – who are among the gallant sons and daughters who sacrificed everything for the freedom of the country.
The Zimbabwe Air Force has a number of aircraft that are no longer flying due to being disabled or damaged, including an AB-205 “Cheeta” helicopter; a Dakota DC-3 troop carrier, an Alouette III helicopter, a Riems Cessna-337G “Lynx” and a Hawk-60.
Likewise, the Armored Vehicle Hangar has some very interesting vehicles such as the 4×4 Field Artillery Tractor and Marmon Herrington Armored Cars, all used to counter Nationalist efforts to liberate the country.
In an interview after visiting the museum, the Acting Regional Director of National Museums and Monuments for the Central Region of Zimbabwe, Mr. Clapperton Gutu, said that the museum specializes in the collection, research and display of artifacts and paraphernalia that explain Zimbabwe’s military history from the first Chimurenga to date as well as how other wars have affected Zimbabwe’s military history.
“Like any other museum in the world, it fits the modern definition of a museum regulated by the International Council of Museums, that is, museums are democratizing, inclusive and polyphonic spaces for critical dialogue about the past and the future.
Recognizing and addressing the conflicts and challenges of the present, they hold artifacts and specimens in trust for society, preserve diverse memorabilia for future generations, and ensure equal rights and equal access to heritage for all” , did he declare.
Mr. Gutu said the museum involves an active partnership with and for diverse communities to collect, preserve, research, interpret, exhibit and enhance understanding of the world, with the aim of contributing to human dignity and social justice, to global equality and planetary well-being.
“Accordingly, the ZMM is the institution of the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe.
Being an NMMZ property with a specialization in the military, the museum itself has galleries and an extension museum known as the Aviation Museum,” he said.
Mr Gutu said they had armored vehicles, uniforms, flags, buttons, badges, photographs, documents, maps and other items that make up the past and present history of the country, this which is important for the future generation.
“We have swords, medals, weapons, uniforms, photographs, aircraft parts too.
In 1985, the NMMZ Board of Trustees recommended a new name for the museum, hence the adoption of the appropriate name Zimbabwe Military Museum.
The organization is made up of several departments that combine their efforts to ensure the prosperous management of our national heritage.
These are the departments of Archaeology/Monuments, Mining, Militaria, Education, Technical, Exhibitions/Exhibitions and Administration,” he said.
Mr. Gutu said that with ZMM’s type of collection, the current and future generation can identify the breadth of the country’s history.
“What makes this museum vibrate is that it is one of those rare museums with rare objects.
For example, planes, tanks among other paraphernalia used in the campaigns and we hope to expand the museum to other campaigns run by the Zimbabwe Defense Force (ZDF) highlighting the importance of the campaigns to the county.
We must be proud of our army,” he said.
Mr. Gutu said that they have a program focusing on the national heritage of the liberation of the country.
“Here, there is uniqueness. We are a research institution and we must publish.
So we want one who has studied military history and general history degree,” he said.
“We’re going to include audio visuals for kids who come here for tours so they enjoy the story and can take it back to school.”
As the country commemorates Heroes and Defense Force Day, ZMM, Gutu said, is the right place to celebrate and showcase the history of the liberation struggle.
“Without these national heroes, some buried in unknown graves and at the acre of provincial and national heroes, the country would not commemorate its heroes day and the defense forces.”.
“We collect, interpret and store the history of the liberation struggle.
We are also the guardian of the Midlands Provincial Heroes Acre which we maintain.
So we are here to tell the people what happened in the country until we saw the nationalists rising up against the colonial rule until the time when we gained independence,” he said. he declares.