By Merit Munzwembiri
Zimbabwe’s participation at the 53rd India International Film Festival demonstrated that history imposes itself on the present.
This emerged when the Zimbabwean delegation led by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa visited the 321-year-old St Barbara’s Parish in Goa.
Zimbabwe and India’s Goa City share an intertwined history. Legend has it that one of Munhumutapa’s sons Prince Dome Miguel was once a leading Catholic priest at this church built in 1701.
The tour by Minister Mutsvangwa signified a retrace of the footsteps of the Munhumutapa State, which had its vast diplomatic empire stretching as far as Goa in India.
The walk back into history revealed how the first colonisers of Goa, the Portuguese’s gold trade was responsible for the expansion of the Munhumutapa empire.
Vicar of St Barbara’s Church, Father Arnaldo Pinho confirmed the deep-rooted contemporary relations between India and Zimbabwe owing to the prominent role played by the Portuguese engineers in the construction of the Kariba Dam.
After the Kariba Dam wall collapse where 86 perished, a Catholic Church was constructed in their honour.
The tour of these ancient buildings whose history is emotively connected to Zimbabwe’s history represents one of the many untold stories of our nation’s past. To this end, Senator Mutsvangwa said this is an important story to tell and should be used to promote creative collaboration in film between Zimbabwe and India’s historic links.
Goa can be the city of spices, and the tourist hub that it is but the buildings are not just relics, but an epitome of relations that once existed and must be cherished.