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Jotsholo: What is in a name?

travelling & touring:with Burzil Dube

AS usual, we start the column with Covid-19-related aspects whose havoc is now being felt in the country’s economy as figures continue to rise at an alarming rate the world over and Zimbabwe is not an exception.

This second wave of the pandemic, which some have nicknamed “Covid-21”, continues to leave most industries on their knees while thousands of jobs are on the tenterhooks.

As stated in previous Travelling and Touring articles, the tourism industry will certainly continue singing the blues until the proverbial cows come home.

Things are not looking good from this provincial divide of Matabeleland North where positive cases are beginning to be a cause of some concern.

This province is home to a hospitality industry, which of late is doddering from collapse whose remedy somehow needs collective effort to curb this pandemic.

This comes at a time when the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) recently restricted travellers from a number of Southern African countries in efforts to contain a new Covid-19 variant whose mutation continues to baffle medical experts.

Some of the countries whose travellers have been banned include Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola, Mauritius and Seychelles.

The above-mentioned countries have now joined South Africa whose travellers were banned a few weeks earlier and it is reported that these restrictions would be provisionally in place for two weeks subject to review.

So there we are. This pandemic is real.

Thou shall not be a statistic but a champion on enforcing the Covid-19 laid-down principles as the pandemic’s ripple effects is somehow proving insurmountable to curtail.

Last week it was highlighted in this column that scores of hotels and leisure resorts in some parts of the world were permanently closing shop due to subdued occupancy levels mainly caused by the novel virus.

There are also media reports that across the border in South Africa, the iconic and majestic Hilton Durban Hotel was in the process of winding up business as bookings were at an all-time low during this Covid-19 era.

The Hilton group has also decided to close some of its hotels in various countries in what has been attributed to a steep decline in revenue exacerbated by the current pandemic.

Other hotels whose going had been on a tough trend include Fairmont Zimbali, which is currently under business rescue programme, since September last year.

Sun International, another hotel group in South Africa, has not been spared as its share price continued to plummet since the onset of Covid-19 pandemic. This hotel group operates 19 resorts in South Africa.

Yours truly shudder, to envisage if such a scenario were to happen in our beloved homeland where the hospitality industry is currently singing the blues.

Intensive promotion of domestic tourism needs to be vigorously implemented as the country is lagging behind an such campaigns.

Talking of a domestic tourism campaign, Canaan Sianyuka, a Tonga researcher, recently highlighted some places whose names were given by the Kasambabezi (Tonga) tribe. Some of the names continue to stir controversy, but history is always full of such issues.

As previously written in the previous Travelling and Touring articles where it was explicitly stated that the Tonga were among the pioneers to settle in south-western Zimbabwe before spreading their tentacles to the rest of the country, yours truly once wrote about Tonga places in Matabeleland North and their meanings. Today we continue with the same modus operandi as more names are unpacked thanks to Sianyuka who continues to offer such an invaluable piece of history.

Some names might appear comical, but one needs to bear in mind that the proverbial rose by any other name will continue to smell sweet.

Here we go.

Lupane district is popularly known as the provincial capital of Matabeleland North and is home to the country’s most sought-after hard wood timber that is mainly used in the furniture industry.

The majority of the products are exported to neighbouring countries where they are in high demand.

However, the gist of the matter is not about the furniture industry, but one needs to be well versed on how the name Lupane came into being. It was derived from Tupane, which is a Tonga word meaning “let us give each other land”.

It remains to be seen on who this type of conversation was directed to and the ultimate its conclusion.

Jotsholo is an area between Lupane and Halfway Hotel, which is situated along the Bulawayo- Victoria Falls road.

To the travelling public, Jotsholo is well known for of its no-nonsense road block and has proved to be a thorn to some wayward drivers.

There is also a road that branches from the main road predominantly used by vehicles moving to and from Gokwe as it is considered to be among the shortest routes.

The name Jotsholo was corrupted from Cijolo, which in Tonga language depicts some form of a sexually transmitted disease. This is quite strange, nonetheless, a rose by any other name will still remain a rose.

Yours truly is still interested to delve further into this rather strange and fascinating issue.

Yours truly’s “roots” are in Gandangula communal area in Lupane, which is situated between St Luke’s Hospital and the iconic Bubi-Lupane dam.

Gandangula was derived from Kandangula, which literally means “it has tripped me or it has brought me down”. Well, Sianyuka is yet to come back to me on the motives behind this particular name.

Yours truly would have added more to the list, but there is utmost need to leave it for another day.

A bucketful of them is in store.

Till we meet again in the next column.

l Comments always welcome on: or Twitter: @DubeBurzil

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