Britain's colonial heritage is wiped out across the nation names

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of schools named after British royals and figures from the Empire would be renamed to honour Zimbabwean national heroes under a government proposal released yesterday.

The move is an apparent attempt by the President, Robert Mugabe, to use anti-colonialist sentiment ahead of elections scheduled for 9-10 March.

The Education Ministry released a list of schools across the country whose names would be changed to honour liberation "heroes" and prominent cultural or government figures from Zimbabwe. The prominent Harare Prince Edward high school would become Murenga Boys' High, after a leader of an uprising against colonial settlers a century ago.

A girls' school named after Queen Elizabeth would become the Sally Mugabe Girls' High after Mr Mugabe's first wife, who died of kidney failure in 1992. Schools named after other figures from British royalty and the colonial era, including Winston Churchill and Cecil Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia, would also be retitled.

According to the proposal, two schools would be renamed for Moven Mahachi and Border Gezi, former government ministers killed in car crashes last year and another after Chenjerai Hunzvi, a leader of the militant war veterans blamed for triggering much of the political violence in the country since March 2000. Hunzvi died of an Aids-related illness last year.

Most main town and street names were changed soon after independence in 1980. The Education Ministry said its proposals still needed to be approved by a cabinet committee on place names. (AP)

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