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The Matobo Hills outside Bulawayo is a World Heritage Site
Paul Hubbard grew up exploring the Matobo Hills outside Bulawayo in southern Zimbabwe. It is an outstanding area, and not only scenically. Caves in the hills feature a vast wealth of rock art, including some of the best Bushman art in southern Africa. The history of the area is also central to both Ndebele and colonial settlement, and these hills captivated Cecil Rhodes, the founder of ‘Rhodesia’ and was the site he chose for his burial. The Matopos are a World Heritage Site and home to an important rhino reserve and significant biodiversity. Throughout his life Paul has been enthralled by all these aspects, and especially its archaeology and history.
|Paul relishes any opportunity to bring the past alive. Raised on a farm, his love of Zimbabwean history grew as he clambered over the great granite outcrops of the Matopos, finding his way into caves so richly decorated with rock art, and exploring the nearby ruins of pre-colonial settlements. Paul studied archaeology at the University of Zimbabwe, then London, and his doctorate is on the history of the Ndebele State.|
Ancient rock art in the Matobo Hills
Paul is one of those rare gems who can keep abreast of current academic debate while at the same time, interprets local history as a guide and writer. There is nothing he enjoys more than making the past accessible to others, particularly through his tours, which he leads in the Matopos and surrounding areas. In particular, Paul eagerly shares his specialist knowledge of rock art and explores the history and culture of Zimbabwe’s Matabele people, including the former Matabele capitals and battlefields to bring this fascinating civilisation alive. Cecil Rhodes, and the impact of railways, are also subjects on which he has written and guides.
Paul shares his love for history, nature and archaeology at the grave of Cecil John Rhodes
Paul writes regularly in the Zimbabwean press, on contemporary and historical events. He also edits the Zimbabwean Journal of Prehistory. With colleagues Rob Burrett, Mark Igoe and Elspeth Parry, Paul has written archaeological guides and books on history.
Paul is Project Manager for the Mother Africa Trust, an organisation dedicated to community outreach and environmental conservation, and he manages two environmental monitoring projects, one in the Matobo Hills, the other in Hwange. To ensure long term sustainability he involves local people in each aspect of the work, which in turn enriches his tourism work, creating a bridge between visitors and local communities.
"This country is my home” he says, "and the Matobo Hills, my church”. Paul is working to understand, preserve and share his love of Zimbabwe, and especially the Matobo Hills, with others.
Author: Roddy Bray
Published Date: 21 Dec 2010
Location: Southern Africa | Zimbabwe
Themes: the past