Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has unveiled a statue of the 19th Century war heroine and one of the leaders of the first armed resistance against the colonial settlers.

There was a 21-gun salute and a fly past to mark the occasion, which was held to coincide with Africa Day commemorations.

Charwe Nyakasikana, who later became known as Mbuya Nehanda, was a spirit medium who mobilised the fight against colonialism before her capture and execution by Cecil John Rhodes’s British South African Company administration in 1898.

Her skull along with other leaders of the rebellion is thought to have been taken to Britain as war trophies.

President Mnangagwa said negotiations continue to have the skull returned along with those of the others.

He also said there was also a need to revisit monuments and sites to ensure that the history presented correctly.

The statue which is on a footbridge in central Harare depicts a chained Nehanda in one of the final photos taken before she was hanged.

Some have questioned the timing of the construction of the statue and the footbridge amidst criticisms that the government is trying to divert attention from its failings. Others say the honour was long overdue for a figure who heroism inspired the liberation war of the 1970s that ended colonialism.