The Great Zimbabwe Museum


When you visit Great Zimbabwe make sure you go through the museum. There is a guided tour which can only accommodate a certain number of people at a time. The guide we had was very knowledgeable and friendly. The museum consists of various recreations of daily life at Great Zimbabwe, artefacts, and models of the whole complex – the hill, the valley and the Great Enclosure.

Replica Zimbabwe Birds

Original soapstone birds

The Main attractions without doubt are the original soapstone birds of which there are eight found at various locations. Replicas of the birds can also be bought from the village situated in the valley. They also having varying degrees of craftsmanship. The older ones being less detailed. One of the displays, is a show case of various logos which use Great Zimbabwe or the Zimbabwe bird amongst them are the ZANU PF logo which adopted the conical tower in 1987 as its party symbol, The Zimbabwe cricket shirt with the Zap and others.

Plaque explains that the museum was a police post situated there to protect the ruins and the relics. It was closed in 1910.

Security in the museum

As you are getting into the museum you are warned that you will not be allowed to take any photos as there are CCTV cameras and you will get into trouble if you are caught. During the tour I saw a white couple pose and take pictures of each other with the displays in the background, against the instruction given by the guide. There is a police officer who moves with the tour group. One girl from a touring high school was not so lucky though. She was caught taking pics. Through out the tour I was looking all around for the CCTV cameras and I couldn’t find any unless they are of a very stealth kind. I guess the couple and the girl came to the same conclusion hence took their chances.

Outside the museum is a concrete block I thought was a bench but it turned out to be Alan Wilsons grave original burial place before his remains were taken to Matopos and reburied there.

The cop who followed the tour group around also convinced me that there weren’t any CCTV cameras or at least there were areas that were not covered. Not that I had any intention of taking pics. I know better than to go beyond a clear instruction like that. So the cop who was following us around caught the girl and started to write in a log book, asked for ID details, Address, phone number. Said he needed these details just in case they needed to call her because the minister checks the video from he CCTV camera and he would need to know what happened and may need to contact her.

I could see where all this was really leading to as the cop kept emphasising how serious the offence was. The guardian who was with the girl kept asking what they could do and how sorry they were, they had deleted the pictures in front of the officer. But the officer insisted that when the minister goes through the tape from the CCTV he would have questions. I didn’t wait to hear how this was going to end cos I knew how it normally plays out.