Look out from the luxury North Wing at Meikles Hotel and you see the magnificent jacaranda trees and gardens of Africa Unity Square that occupies a special place in our nation’s history.
It was here in this historic square, as in many places across our land, that the new Zimbabwe flag was hoisted for the first time on 18 April 1980. Thus it is a joyous 36 years of Independence, from Britain, that Zimbabweans celebrate with a public holiday on Monday 18 April 2016.
At the birth of The Republic of Zimbabwe Meikles Hotel was there, amid the pomp and ceremony, to play a pivotal role in what we regard as the single most significant and proudest moment of our 100-year history. Our glamorous and elegant Stewart Room hosted the official banquet for dignitaries from the world over.
Presided over by newly elected Prime Minister Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the Guest of Honour was Britain’s Charles, Prince of Wales, along with more than 40 heads of state. It was the glittering gala dinner that preceded the official Independence Ceremony at midnight on April 17, 1980.
We took great delight then that Meikles, Zimbabwe’s finest hotel for the past 100 years, was the natural venue of choice for such a glorious occasion. Indeed, our walls bear testimony to many events that have shaped our nation’s past and many famous people have chosen to stay with us. Take a stroll around our Celebrities Gallery and you’ll be amazed – the late icon Nelson “Madiba” Mandela, USA first lady Hillary Clinton, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, hip-hop sensation Akon and many others adorn our walls.
Little wonder that Zimbabweans know the saying “Meet you at Meikles.” We hope we’ll meet you here too so that you may wallow in the pride of our rich pedigree and history. Meanwhile, from all at Meikles, Happy Independence Zimbabwe and may there be rich blessings for our proud nation.
Read a little more about of fascinating history here:
QUICK QUIZ: What other significant global success did Zimbabwe gain in the year of our Independence, 1980?