By Shamiso Winnet Mupara

A bridge by technical definition is a structure that is built over a river, road, or railway to allow people and vehicles to cross from one side to the other. 🛤️
Sometimes the word is also used to depict a change in position especially socially. In this case a bridge is something that makes it easier to make a change from one situation to another. For example, Education can be a bridge out of poverty.

Whatever definition of bridge you have, or situation you find yourself in, a bridge always bring change in position in a good way.


My trip to The Birchenough Bridge had the same effect on me. Change in perspective on how I see things and view life in general. In the midst of all the hardships, The Birchenough Bridge at sunset brought a ray of hope for better things to come. Watching the sun going to sleep over the bridge was a reassurance that tomorrow we shall have a better sunrise.

                                    CHANGE 

And this is the same with The Birchenough Bridge. Legend has it that, prior to 1935 when The Birchenough Bridge was opened to the general public for use, the eastern parts of Zimbabwe were somewhat cut off from central Zimbabwe hence the need to construct the bridge. Built at a cost of about £145 000 from the Beit Trust, The Birchenough Bridge design was one of the cheapest given the span of the Save River. The Bridge was named in honor of the then Chairman of the Beit Trust, Sir Henry Birchenough .

An aesthetically pleasing sight, majestically bestriding the Save River, The Birchenough Bridge is a fine piece of art and the only suspension bridge in the country.

A suspension bridge is one that has the roadway suspended from two or more cables usually passing over towers or pillars and securely anchored at the ends. With a span of nearly 380m across Save River,by the time it was constructed The Bridge was once the third longest bridge in the world. 🗺️🌏🌍🌎

Shamiso Winnet Mupara


The Birchenough Bridge is a beautifully constructed single arch suspension bridge that is anchored on both sides of the Save River. Notably, The Bridge is a fusion of the arch and suspension bridge designs which has significantly contributed to the long life span of the bridge. Constructed by the Dorman Long Steel Co, the Bridge was constructed using steel and it has straddled over the Save River water for more than eight and a half decades.

Straddling across the Save River in the North East of the Manicaland Provincial capital Mutare, The Bridge serves a dual purpose – to showcase the great architectural skills of the British Architect, Ralph Freeman and to link the Manicaland Province to Masvingo Province.

Beautiful as it is it has its own drawbacks as suspension bridges are expensive to design and also maintain. The stays on the bridge need to be checked on a daily basis to ensure it’s still secure and avoid accidents and disasters.

But the cost should not deter us from constructing more bridges In Zimbabwe. Since time immemorial up to today Suspension Bridges have always been ‘in fashion’. They never get old or boring because they are awesome, striking , outstanding, distinguished and in addition you achieve longer span with Suspension bridges than other types of bridges. The Birchenough Bridge of 1935 has a span of 380 metres while The 2022 Turkey’s Çanakkale Bridge spans 2,023m, and is one of the longest in the world. Talk about things keeping getting better.

It would be a pleasure to see our generation construct a more majestic bridges that can carry weights in excess of 25 tonnes, which is the current maximum weight allowed past The Birchenough Bridge. As the country increase the number of institutions of higher learning, we need to see more Engineers solve the ‘ famous bridge’ issues the country faces especially during disasters such as cyclones🌧️🌦️🌊🌊💦☔ and every other rainy season. Stories of residents being swept away while trying to cross rivers or bridges that give in during crossing causing accidents and children missing school for weeks and months on end are on the rise.

Shamiso at Birchinough Bridge

One wonders🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔… we had only a handful of Engineers in the 1930s yet they managed to come up with a solution to link Manicaland and Masvingo Province. To date Zim graduates👨🏾🎓🧑🏻🎓🧑🏻🎓👨🏾🎓👨🏾🎓👨🏾🎓👨🏾🎓 hundreds of Engineers📝📏📐📚📖🖊️🖋️📉📈📊 each year…. and most of our roads have no bridges, have bridges not fit for purpose and enough of them are in bad shape and urgently need attention. The country keeps producing ‘clerk engineers’ who lack practical skills to come up with solutions we face every day.

To all graduates out there, Degree harisiro rinoshanda, munhu ndiye anoshanda. It’s of no use being a decorated ENGINEER and a certificate on the wall, but lack practical skills to bring solutions.

By the way, while at the bridge don’t forget to play at the beach… it has beautiful sand. 🏖️⛱️🏖️⛱️🏝️🏝️🏖️

The best time to see the bridge is during sunset or just before dusk.

BE A BRIDGE FOR SOMEONE OR SOMETHING TODAY..

ZimTourism #SuspensionBridges

#RoadTrips #Zimbho #MEET in Zim

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