As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Give back Zimbabwe’s bird!

01 April 2016 at 07:47am
By: Shannon Ebrahim

Zimbabwe needs all the help it can get, so if it believes a mythical sculpture can bring fortune, we should return it, writes Shannon Ebrahim.

Julius Malema, I have a new slogan for you: Give Back the Bird! Many Zimbabweans believe that their country will never experience good fortune or return to its former glory until its eight mythical soapstone birds are reunited.

There has never been a time when Zimbabwe was in greater need of good fortune.

The country was just listed as the poorest country in Africa with a per capita income of $200 (R2 965), compared to that of Mauritius, which is $21 700, according to the Africa 2016 Wealth Report released this week. This is the country of the Great Zimbabwe ruins - a testament to Zimbabwe’s ancient African civilisation and culture. This is also the country that once was the bread basket of the southern African region.

Zimbabwe is in possession of only seven of its eight birds, which were found in the ancient ruins of its lost city that dates back to the 11th century. The eighth bird sits in Cecil Rhodes’s bedroom in Groote Schuur, which is now a museum on the presidential estate in Cape Town. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe had called Rhodes’s possession of the bird “ruthless cultural plunder”.

Mugabe hailed the return of a fragment of the seventh bird in 2003 from a German museum, and promised to speak to then-president Thabo Mbeki about returning the eighth bird so that all Zimbabwe’s precious birds could be reunited.

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