Curator and manager at Supa Ngwao Museum, Jeoffrey Matheakgomo, has decried lack of funds as one of the main challenges that impedes the museum to document some of the historic buildings in Francistown.
A number of historic buildings in the second city are not documented and some of them are dilapidated and have been reduced to ruins. They are also not protected.
In an interview with The Telegraph last week he admitted that some of the historic buildings in Francistown have been left unkempt for a long time and are getting destroyed.
“There are a number of buildings which are not documented and protected. Our main challenge is that we have shortage of funds. We have documented some of them but the main challenge we have is lack of funds. We have to identify some of these buildings and restore them,” he emphasized.
While he could not produce the number of buildings that have been documented, Matheakgomo said the other challenge is due to the fact that they cannot locate the previous owners as they are private property. He however said they have over the years managed to document some buildings such as the Hexagonal building and the old jail house. One of the buildings that is not documented and protected is the Miners Cottage which is situated at the foot of Nyangabwe Hill. The crumbling building was used by the miners during the gold mining era at the old Monarch Gold Mine.
“We are currently working around the clock to devise ways to raise funds to meet our obligations. We get our financial support from the National Museum which is a grant. It pays staff salaries. The National Museum has always been very supportive in that regard. We have to find ways to generate income,” he said.
Matheakgomo said like any other sector, Supa Ngwao Museum was affected by the Covid 19 pandemic as there was a national lockdown which prevented movement of people and affected tourism. He added that Francistown has a huge potential in becoming a cultural tourism hub given its rich history. On a positive note he said that they are currently working with stakeholders to try and resuscitate some of the historical buildings.
Supa Ngwao Museum was established in 1986 mainly to preserve historical information about the city of Francistown and the surrounding areas. The museum is responsible for mainly showcasing the history and culture of Bakalanga people who are the dominant tribe in the area.