By Chimuka Moono Hanyama
Zambian history is littered with a lot of literature on different national heritage sites. Some of these include Isamu Pati in Kalomo, Ingombe Ilede in Gwembe valley, and Broken Hillman in Kabwe.
Ingombe Ilede is a historical site which was discovered in 1964 by government workers who were constructing a water tank in the area for the resettled Tonga people of Gwembe valley.
It is located some kilometers away from the confluence of Kafue and Zambezi rivers.This site basically had a big Baobab tree which was positioned like a ‘sleeping cow’, hence the name. Ingombe Ilede has a rich history about slave trade.
The site is said to be an area where slave trade and barter system used to take place. Artifacts that were collected from the area included copper crosses and beads.
Ingombe Ilede also had a special burial arrangement which showed the status of the person who was buried.
Graves which were found surrounded by others had expensive artifacts on them than theses around. This is how rich the history of Ingombe Illede is.
However, this historical site has not seen physical recognition as theoretically put in the literatures on it.
When one visits the site, he or she sees nothing apart from the mere stones that sorround the site to guard it against gulley erosion.
The Baobab tree also has since grown branches to become a different shape apart from that of the ‘sleeping cow’. Indeed, this site has been forsaken by National Heritage department.
There is nothing physical which one can appreciate about it in its current state apart from the theoretical insight shown in books.
There isn’t even a stone engraved or whatsoever, save for a sign-post showing the direction of the site off Siavonga road.
It’s well known that artifacts were collected from the same place to different parts of the country and world.
But whats wrong about recognising and maintaining the area where these tourist attraction objects came from?
Was this done to forget about the area whose history is so important in the heritage of the country? Surely, there is something the government can do to facelift and preserve this national heritage site?
Apart from reaping it off the various artifacts that were found, the government can as well think of protecting and preserving the history of this area.
This will not only create employment to the local people, but also boost tourism potential in the area.
At the end of of it all, generations and generations will find and cherish these historical memories which are important for unity. That’s the idea of heritage.
The authorities at National Heritage department need to reconsider their strategies, otherwise it will not take long before such forgotten sites as Ingombe Ilede turn into farming grounds.