Zimbabwe Facts

David Livingstone plaque.
Zimbabwe is situated in south-central Africa, between the Limpopo and the mighty Zambezi. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east.

What's in a Name ?

The official name of Zimbabwe is Republic of Zimbabwe. The country was formerly known as Southern Rhodesia, the Republic of Rhodesia and Zimbabwe Rhodesia. Zimbabwe's former name, Rhodesia, was derived from Cecil John Rhodes, whose company administered the area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The name Zimbabwe has been derived from "Dzimba dza mabwe", which means "great houses of stone" in the Shona language. The name is based on the stone structures of Great Zimbabwe or Dzimbahwe, which became a World Heritage site in 1986.

Independence

The United Kingdom granted Zimbabwe independence on April 18, 1980 in accordance with the Lancaster House Agreement. Robert Mugabe who became the leader of the new nation is still in charge today. Back in 1980 he was cheered as a hero, but now he is reviled by many of his own people who have watched their nation descend into violence and poverty under his leadership.

Fundamentals

  • The capital city of Zimbabwe is Harare (previously known as Salisbury)
  • Zimbabwe has three official languages: English, Shona and Ndebele. Zimbabwe's literacy rate is at 92% - the highest in Africa
  • The currency of Zimbabwe was the Zimbabwe Dollar, but in 2009 Zimbabwe adopted a multi-currency scheme; the US Dollar and South African Rand. A Z$100 trillion banknote was printed just before Zimbabwe abandoned their own currency
  • Zimbabwe holds the second place in the world hyperinflation record books with a daily inflation rate of 98%

National Anthem

'Blessed be the Land of Zimbabwe' is the national anthem of Zimbabwe. The national anthem was introduced in March 1994 and was written by Professor Solomon Mutswairo and composed by Fred Changundega.

The Smoke That Thunders

Victoria Falls are locally known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, "the smoke that thunders". The Victoria Falls are 1 708 meters wide, making it the largest curtain of water in the world. The Victoria Falls were designated as a World Heritage site in 1986.

Lake Kariba

Lake Kariba, constructed on the Zambezi River, is one of the world's largest manmade lakes in the world. Nyaminyami (also known as the Zambezi River God) is believed by the Tonga people to control life on the Zambezi.

Ancient City

Great Zimbabwe is an ancient city that hosts the largest stone structures south of the pyramids. Built entirely of stone, the ruins span more than 7km2. It is estimated that the city housed as many as 18,000 inhabitants.

Shona Culture and Art

Sadza is the Shona language name for a cooked corn meal that is the staple food in Zimbabwe. A porridge made by mixing corn with water to produce a thick past, is eaten for lunch and dinner. It will be eaten with spinach, beans and meat and is often eaten with curdled milk and know as mukaka wakakora.

Bota is eaten for breakfast and is a thinner porridge and usually flavoured with milk, butter, jam or peanut butter. Shona sculpture is a contemporary art form, where artists with little education and training, produce exquisite sculptures. The Sculptures are unique as most of the artists carve with no pre-conceived idea. They let the stone dictate what form is held within it. Using only hand tools, artists carve their works of art from serpentine, opalstone, verdite, leopard rock, and steatite.

Famous People Born in Zimbabwe

  • Alexander McCall Smith (born 1948) - Creator of the 'The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency'
  • Kirsty Coventry (born 1983) - Olympic champion swimmer
  • Duncan Fletcher (born 1948) - former England cricket team coach
  • Andy Flower (born 1968) - former Test cricketer and national captain
  • Bruce Grobbelaar (born 1957) - retired professional football goalkeeper
  • Benjani Mwaruwari (born 1978) - professional footballer playing for Manchester City
  • Peter Ndlovu (born 1973) - professional footballer playing for Mamelodi Sundowns FC
  • Nick Price (born 1957) - active professional golfer, British Open winner (1994), PGA Championship winner (1992, 1994), 2005 Bob Jones Award winner

Top Travel Destinations in Zimbabwe

  • Victoria Falls
  • Mana Pools National Park
  • Lake Kariba
  • Hwange National Park
  • Eastern Highlands

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