Submission by John Masuku
Why is this your favourite building?
In the 1960s,early 1970s Cyril Jennings Hall in Highfield (CJ) was where, as youngsters, mainly on Fridays after school, we enjoyed watching films like "Tarzan Comes to Town", "Dingaka", James Bond (Sean Connery,Roger Moore) Zoro,"Enter The Dragon" (Bruce Lee), Sons of Thunder, "The Return of Spartacus", "Hercules, Samson and Ulysses", "Gladiators", "Batman and Robin", "Captain Marvel" - Chazem and cowboy series When action reached its peak viewers would drown the speakers with shouts of "Awu, he, nzveee!!!."hwanda" "Iwe tiza, uri kunyangirwa"
Arthur Cyril Jennings was a civil engineer and colonial administrator.
Of interest is that I also enjoyed watching same popular films including "King Kong" and "Gladiators Seven" at Mkoba Hall, Gwelo (Gweru) when, during school holidays, I sometimes visited my brother who worked at the then Rhodesian Bata Shoe Company and lived near a secondary school called Bumburwi in Old Mkoba. I also got to hear about kwaMpambadzire Nightclub and Ndokupa store.The other dozens of new Mkoba suburbs were not yet there. Rhodesia Castings and Rhodesia Alloys were among thriving industries.
Historic Cyril Jennings Hall, now badly run down and seemingly totally neglected is a stone's throw away from former homes of late Zanu Vice President Leopold Takawira, former Federal MP Jasper Savanhu, former Advertising Executive Etherton Mpisaunga, former journalist-cum-businessman Nathaniel Demadema Sibanda of Mboneli Motors in Lusaka Lines, Mr Muteswa of a popular fish and chips eating house lived up the road towards Machipisa.
Like Stodart Hall in Harare (Mbare) CJ was also a favourite venue for nationalist politics where meetings were held by different parties.
In the early 1970s popular billings included " Teen Time", weddings as well as hosting different Salisbury bands like Great Sounds, OK Success, Safirio Madzikatire and Sea Cottage Sisters, then Bulawayo based former broadcasterJaphet 'Jazi Elindizayo' Masuku-led Izintombi ZikaMthwakazi Labafana Bomdlalo of 'Thina Siyahlupheka' fame, visiting South African mbaqanga groups of Simon Mahlathini Nkabinde laMahotella Queens, Saul Mshengu Shabalala leZintombi ZesiManje Manje, Samson The Lion Heart and Jabavu Queens.
Cyril Jennings Hall and similar historic buildings should be rehabilitated and preserved.
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