The name Stodart Hall is synonymous with the accordance of last respects national heroes. It is the second last destination for all national heroes before they are interred at the iconic National Heroes Acre.
The historic community centre located in Mbare, one of Harare’s oldest suburbs, was built around 1958 and was named after Mr William Swan Stodart who was Deputy Superintendent of the then Salisbury (a position that amounts to that of Mayor today) from 1929 to 1936 and was promoted to substantive superintendent from 1936 to 1952.
The hall was built for the native Africans who stayed in the area as a recreation facility where they would occasionally go and while away time.
The complex has however surpassed its intended impact. Unlike the usual purpose of having the community converging for various social activities, Stodart Hall is now more popular as a place for the last vigil for deceased national heroes.
During the colonial era politicians like Mai Musodzi, who also has a community hall named after her in the same suburb, conducted meetings that led to the birth of nationalist movements hence it was seen as fit to hold funeral processions for late heroes as a way of commemorating how the road to Independence began.
Musicians used to hold their shows there but were stopped in order to preserve the place’s legacy.
The community centre is adjacent to a swimming pool, football and netball pitches and also basketball and volleyball courts.