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Stolen Artifact of Zimbabwean King Found, Gold-Plated Spear is More than 120 Years Old

Depiction of King Lobengula of the Ndebele of Zimbabwe (via

Depiction of King Lobengula of the Ndebele of Zimbabwe (via

Bulawayo — Police in southern Zimbabwe say they have found a missing, more-than-120-year-old spear stuffed inside the thatched roof of a man who claimed to be a descendant of its owner, it was reported on Thursday.

In a twist to the story of the stolen spear of King Lobengula, the state-run Chronicle said that Bongani Mahlobo claimed his “ancestral spirits” led him to the gold-plated artifact, which was being kept at a poorly-guarded theme park near the second city of Bulawayo.

Lobengula was the last king of the Ndebele people.

Mahlobo has been arrested for the theft of the spear, the report said. His homestead lies very near Old Bulawayo, where the spear was on display.

News that it had been stolen last week sparked questions over the safety of some museum treasures in cash-strapped Zimbabwe. Old Bulawayo was ravaged by fire in 2010 and has still not been properly restored.

Meanwhile, reports indicated that Zimbabwe was working closely with the Natural History Museum in London to identify and repatriate the skulls of early freedom fighters killed by British colonizers.

President Robert Mugabe accused Britain of “racist moral decadence” and “sadism” for keeping the remains.

National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe director Godfrey Mahachi was quoted as saying that the identification process “is being carried out diligently to ensure that the correct skulls are brought back home”.

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