US President Donald Trump waves during a rally in El Paso, Texas, US, in this file photo taken on February 11 2019. Picture: BLOOMBERG/ADRIA MALCOLM
US President Donald Trump waves during a rally in El Paso, Texas, US, in this file photo taken on February 11 2019. Picture: BLOOMBERG/ADRIA MALCOLM

Johannesburg/Harare — Frustrated by Democrats from fulfilling a campaign pledge to build a wall along the southern US border, Donald Trump is getting his way regardless. The only downside for the president is that this wall is in Southern Africa.

The US is putting up $475,000 to help restore the stone walls at Great Zimbabwe, a fortress that dates back to the 11th century and which gave the country its name. Much of the funding will go towards keeping out an unwanted intruder from the West Indies known as the lantana camara weed that is threatening the structure. The walls are about 11m high.

The project will involve the restoration of the stone walls, monitoring of their movement and combating the invasive weed, said Lovemore Nyandima, a regional director for the Great Zimbabwe Museum. A system to detect any shifts in the walls will be put in place in August or September and an expert in the control of lantana camara will make an assessment, he said.

“All this is funded under the fund from the US ambassador,” he said. The project falls under the US Ambassadors’ Fund for Cultural Preservation. The US embassy in Harare had no immediate comment beyond a release announcing the grant.

Great Zimbabwe was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, which ruled over ancestors of the modern day Shona ethnic group, and is the biggest of about 100 stone ruins known as MadZimbabwe that are found in the country. Zimbabwe means house of stone.

Bloomberg