Zimbabwe is blessed with a good and warm climate with rich flaura and fauna. Zimbabwe is also where you find one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Victoria Falls which is surrounded by the seven wonders of our own world. The Majestic Victoria Falls which is known by the locals as “Mosi Oya Tunya” the smoke that thunders because of the thunderous noise the water from the falls and smoke like mist from the fall. The Great Zimbabwe is a wonder in itself, built of granite blocks with no mortar or adhesive it has captured the interest of both local and international architects. Our pristine wildlife and nature rivals that of any other African country and is in the top 40 of the beautiful habitats in the world. The eastern highlands is a mountainous plain which is said to be filled with the voices of the ancestors and the waters that flow within the plan are said to contain healing powers and sooth the body. The mythical Kariba and the mighty Zambezi, the home of Nyaminyami the serpent god of the Tonga people. Visitors who come to the area can indulge themselves in the story of this mythical creature and even have a hand carved walking stick in the form of the serpent god.
Area: 390 580 km²
Population: 12 746 990 (2007)
Language(s): English, Shona, Sindebele
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa, lying between latitudes 15° and 23°S, and longitudes 25° and 34°E. Most of the country is elevated in the central plateau (high veld) stretching from the southwest to the northwest at altitudes between 1,200 and 1,600 m. The country’s east is mountainous with Mount Nyangani as the highest point at 2,592 m. About 20% of the country consists of the low veld under 900m. Victoria Falls, one of the world’s biggest and most spectacular waterfalls, is located in the country’s northwest as part of the Zambezi river. The country has a tropical climate with a rainy season usually from late October to March. The climate is moderated by the altitude. Zimbabwe is faced with recurring droughts; and severe storms are rare.
From about 1300 until 1600, Mapungubwe was eclipsed by the Kingdom of Zimbabwe. This Shona state further refined and expanded upon Mapungubwe’s stone architecture, which survives to this day at the ruins of the kingdom’s capital of Great Zimbabwe. From c. 1450–1760, Zimbabwe gave way to the Kingdom of Mutapa. This Shona state ruled much of the area that is known as Zimbabwe today, and parts of central Mozambique. It is known by many names including the Mutapa Empire, also known as Mwene Mutapa or Monomotapa as well as “Munhumutapa,” and was renowned for its stategic trade routes with the Arabs and Portugal. Eventually, however, the Portuguese sought to monopolise this influence and began a series of wars which left the empire in near collapse in the early 17th century.
In Zimbabwe, the rains come principally in December, January, February and March; the further north you are, the earlier the precipitation arrives and the later it leaves. Zimbabwe’s higher eastern areas usually receive more rainfall than the lower-lying western ones. By April and May most of the rain is gone, leaving a verdant setting, which is starting to dry out. Especially in more southerly and higher locations, the night-time temperatures start to drop. The nights in June, July and August become much cooler, so don’t forget to bring some warmer clothes, in case you want to spend a night outside; the days are still clear and warm. For Zimbabwe, this is the start of the ‘peak season’– days are often cloudless and game sightings continually increase. Into September and October the temperatures rise once again: Zimbabwe’s lower-lying rift valley – Mana Pools – can get very hot in October. During this time, you’ll see some fantastic game, as the Zimbabwe’s wildlife concentrates around the limited water sources. November is unpredictable; it can be hot and dry, it can also see the season’s first rainfalls – and in this respect it’s a very interesting month, as on successive days, you can see both weather patterns.
Angus Shaw (writer)
John Edmond (music)
George Mutandwa Chiweshe (politician)
Byron Black (tennis)
Kirsty Coventry (swimmer)
Flora and fauna
The country is mostly savanna, although the moist and mountainous east supports tropical evergreen and hardwood forests. Trees include teak and mahogany, knobthorn, msasa and baobab. Among the numerous flowers and shrubs are hibiscus, spider lily, leonotus, cassia, tree wisteria and dombeya.
Around 85% of the people of the country are Christians. Approximately 62% of the Christian population goes to the churches on a regular basis.
Christianity Protestants account for around 33% of the population of the country. The number of Roman Catholics in the nation is close to one million (roughly 7% of the overall population).
Islam represents 1% of the population of the country. Approximate figures of Muslims in Zimbabwe differ from 120,000 to around 250, 000.
There are limited numbers of Hindus in the country. They are mostly present in Harare, the capital city. Hindu Community mostly comprises Goanese, Gujarati, and Tamil people.
Other than these religions, there are followers of Judaism, Buddhism, Greek Orthodoxy, and conventional endemic religions, Baha’is, and atheists.
President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (commonly abbreviated ZANU-PF) has been the dominant political party in Zimbabwe since independence. In 1987 then-prime minister Mugabe revised the constitution, abolishing the ceremonial presidency and the prime ministerial posts to form an executive president, a Presidential system. His ZANU party has won every election since independence, in 1990 election the second-placed party, Edgar Tekere’s Zimbabwe Unity Movement, winning only 20% of the vote. During the 1995 parliamentary elections most opposition parties, including the ZUM, boycotted the voting, resulting in a near-sweep by the ruling party. When the opposition returned to the polls in 2000, they won 57 seats, only five fewer than ZANU.
Presidential elections were again held in 2002 amid allegations of vote-rigging, intimidation and fraud. The 2005 Zimbabwe parliamentary elections were held on 31 March and multiple claims of vote rigging, election fraud and intimidation were made by the MDC and Jonathan Moyo, calling for investigations into 32 of the 120 constituencies. Jonathan Moyo participated in the elections despite the allegations and won a seat as an independent member of Parliament.
Mineral exports, gold, agriculture, and tourism are the main foreign currency earners of Zimbabwe. The mining sector remains very lucrative, with some of the world’s largest platinum reserves being mined by Anglo American plc and Impala Platinum. The Marange diamond fields, discovered in 2006, are considered the biggest diamond find in over a century. They have the potential to improve the fiscal situation of the country considerably, but almost all revenues from the field have disappeared in to the pockets of army officers and ZANU-PF politicians. Zimbabwe is the biggest trading partner of South Africa on the continent.
Zimbabwe maintained positive economic growth throughout the 1980s (5% GDP growth per year) and 1990s (4.3% GDP growth per year). The economy declined from 2000: 5% decline in 2000, 8% in 2001, 12% in 2002 and 18% in 2003. The government of Zimbabwe faces a variety of economic problems after having abandoned earlier efforts to develop a market-oriented economy. Problems include a shortage of foreign exchange, soaring inflation, and supply shortages. Zimbabwe’s involvement from 1998 to 2002 in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy.
The downward spiral of the economy has been attributed mainly to mismanagement and corruption by the government and the eviction of more than 4,000 white farmers in the controversial land redistribution of 2000. Zimbabwe was previously an exporter of maize but has become a net importer. Tobacco exports and other exports of crops have also declined sharply. The fate of the white farmers was publicised in a documentary film Mugabe and the White African.
Tourism was an important industry for the country, but has been failing in recent years. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force released a report in June 2007, estimating 60% of Zimbabwe’s wildlife has died since 2000 due to poaching and deforestation. The report warns that the loss of life combined with widespread deforestation is potentially disastrous for the tourist industry.
In November 2010, the IMF described the Zimbabwean economy as “completing its second year of buoyant economic growth”
Similar to its history, Zimbabwe food also has different shades of color and flavor. With the advent of European colonies, the country has adopted a heterogeneity in its culture, rituals, lifestyle, and food. Some of the popular Zimbabwe Food Recipes are Salted Groundnuts, Corn meal with pumpkin, and Peanut butter stew.
Shona, Sindebele and English are the principal languages of Zimbabwe. Despite English being the official language, less than 2.5%, mainly the white and Coloured (mixed race) minorities, consider it their native language. The rest of the population speak Bantu languages such as Shona (70%), Sindebele (20%) and the other minority languages of Venda, Tsonga, Shangaan, Kalanga, Sotho, Ndau and Nambya. Shona has a rich oral tradition, which was incorporated into the first Shona novel, Feso by Solomon Mutswairo, published in 1956. English is spoken primarily in the cities, but less so in rural areas. Radio and television news now broadcast in Shona, Sindebele and English.
Zimbabwe has many different cultures which may include beliefs and ceremonies, one of them being Shona. Zimbabwe’s largest ethnic group is Shona. The Shona people have many sculptures and carvings which are made with the finest materials available.
Zimbabwe first celebrated its independence on 18 April 1980. Celebrations are held at either the National Sports Stadium or Rufaro Stadium in Harare. The first independence celebrations were held in 1980 at the Zimbabwe Grounds. At these celebrations doves are released to symbolise peace and fighter jets fly over and the national anthem is sung. The flame of independence is lit by the president after parades by the presidential family and members of the armed forces of Zimbabwe. The president also gives a speech to the people of Zimbabwe which is televised for those unable to attend the stadium.
At independence, the policies of racial inequality were reflected in the disease patterns of the black majority. The first five years after independence saw rapid gains in areas such as immunization coverage, access to health care, and contraceptive prevalence rate. Zimbabwe was thus considered internationally to have an achieved a good record of health development. The country suffered occasional outbreaks of acute diseases (such as plague in 1994). The gains on the national health were eroded by structural adjustment in the 1990s, the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the economic crisis since the year 2000. Zimbabwe now has one of the lowest life expectancies on Earth – 44 for men and 43 for women, down from 60 in 1990. The rapid drop has been ascribed mainly to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Infant mortality has risen from 5.9% in the late 1990s to 12.3% by 2004.
The health system has more or less collapsed. By the end of November 2008, three of Zimbabwe’s four major hospitals had shut down, along with the Zimbabwe Medical School, and the fourth major hospital had two wards and no operating theatres working. Due to hyperinflation, those hospitals still open are not able to obtain basic drugs and medicines. The ongoing political and economic crisis also contributed to the emigration of the doctors and people with medical knowledge.
In August 2008 large areas of Zimbabwe were struck by the ongoing cholera epidemic. By December 2008 more than 10,000 people had been infected in all but one of Zimbabwe’s provinces and the outbreak had spread to Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia. On 4 December 2008 the Zimbabwe government declared the outbreak to be a national emergency and asked for international aid. By 9 March 2009 The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 4,011 people had succumbed to the waterborne disease since the outbreak began in August 2008, and the total number of cases recorded had reached 89,018. In Harare, the city council offered free graves to cholera victims. There have been signs that the disease is abating, with cholera infections down by about 50 percent to around 4,000 cases a week.