The Zimbabwean government unveiled a statue of the liberation heroine and anti-colonialism figurehead Mbuya Nehanda in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday amid controversy about its priorities while the economy and health system collapse. Critics attacked the government’s decision to spend an unknown amount of money on the statue, which had to be remade after the original sculpture was rejected for not looking enough like the figurehead of the first Chimurenga, or uprising. Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana, known as Mbuya – “grandmother” in the Shona language – was a spiritual leader of the Shona people who led a revolt against the 19th-century colonisation of Zimbabwe by Cecil Rhodes and his allies. She is widely commemorated in Zimbabwe, in street names and on buildings, and her legacy is linked to the notion of resistance that ignited the guerrilla war – known as the second Chimurenga – that began in 1972.
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