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Purple time

IN FULL BLOOM: A canopy of Jacarandas

Zimbabwe is a beautiful country, no doubt about that.

Yes we have our man made problems and challenges but what can never be taken away is the fact that this country is endowed with so much natural beauty.

Back in the days, tourism contributed significantly to the Gross Domestic Product as tourists flocked to visit various places of interest with Victoria Falls being the major attraction since it’s a wonder of the world.

I was inspired to write about the beauty of my country on Monday as I drove around the city centre which has suddenly turned purple because of the blooming Jacaranda trees.

These trees actually dominate the vegatation around the CBDs and lower density suburbs of Bulawayo and Harare meaning that at this time of the year, the two cities really turn purple.

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Nature lovers and photographers also compete to capture the best of these beautiful trees which actually brighten up the mood.

Some years back while working in Harare, I used to take the longest route at this time of the year while driving to work so I could drive on a street lined with dozens of jacaranda trees on both side, it was a sight to behold.

No wonder some tourists used to also actually visit Harare and Bulawayo at this time of the year so they could also marvel at the purple blossom from the mighty jacaranda.

Some even call it an icon of Harare as there are plenty of these trees in the capital.

And the history of it is quite interesting too.

The story is that the plant which originates from Brazil was first introduced in then Salisbury (Harare) in 1899 by a honeymooning couple who carried home six seedlings from the botanical gardens in Durban, South Africa.

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Because of the power of public works projects in the early 20th century, jacaranda trees soon took root in Salisbury parks, gardens and alongside the expanding road network, the rest as they its history.

Today many people including myself, marvel at these eye catching trees which literally decorate our streets while also reminding us that the rainy season is nigh.

And now for the dose of politics…former first lady, Grace Mugabe on Monday filed a high court application seeking to overturn a ruling by a traditional court which ordered that the late former president, Robert Mugabe be exhumed from his rural home in Zvimba for re-burial at the National Heroes Acre.

Mugabe died in 2019 and was buried after weeks of dispute between his family and the government over his final resting place.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa wanted him buried at the shrine for liberation war heroes but the family refused saying Mugabe had expressed fear that some of his former allies would want to use his body parts for traditioanal rituals.

It now remains to be seen if the high court will rule in Mugabe”s favour but I can bet with my last penny that they will lose this case and that Mugabe will eventually be forcefully exhumed.

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