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#56DaysofAfrica- Zimbabwe

"the breadbasket of Africa"

On today's edition of #56DaysofAfrica, we will be highlighting Zimbabwe.

The Republic of Zimbabwe was formerly known as Rhodesia and the name derived from Cecil John Rhodes who in 1888 tricked Lobengula into signing an agreement that opened the country to mining prospectors and other speculators. Rhodes then formed the British South Africa Company which subsequently led the first group of white settlers to move from South Africa in search of gold and arable land. By 1891, Rhodes declared Matabeleland, Mashonaland, and Bechuanaland a British protectorate.

After defeating the Ndebele in battle and appropriating land in Mashonaland, the colonists founded Rhodesia in 1895. The first Chimurenga (war of liberation) occurred in 1896 when the Ndebele were joined by the Shona. The war was led by two-spirit mediums, Nehanda Nyakasikana and Sekuru Kaguvi, who was caught and executed and subsequently became powerful symbols in the 1960s Second Chimurenga. Between 1946 and 1960, the white population increased from 82,000 to 223,000, and this period witnessed economic expansion.

Nehanda Nyakasikana and Sekuru Kaguvi

Zimbabwe's road to Independence

Native Zimbabweans were denied their civil rights, they were barred from downtown areas and relegated to segregated neighbourhoods called “locations.” White settlers controlled the economic, social, and political institutions. Racial inequity triggered strikes by Zimbabwean workers in the 1940s, bus boycotts in the 1950s, and major anticolonial uprisings in the 1960s.

After World War II, Britain tried to negotiate a way for the government in Southern Rhodesia to incorporate African majority rule, but the negotiations proved to be unsuccessful and Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith unilaterally declared Rhodesia's unilateral independence from Great Britain on November 11, 1965. Smith's government fought against Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union and Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union.

In 1966 the UN Security Council placed sanctions on Rhodesia, the first in the history of the Security Council. The sanctions were broadened in 1968 by imposing an almost total embargo on all trade with, investments in, or transfers of funds to Rhodesia and restrictions on air transport were also imposed. The Second Chimurenga lasted from July 1964 to 1979 and led to universal suffrage, the end of white minority rule in Rhodesia, and the creation of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

ZANLA Fighters

As a form of agreement between Britain and the liberation leaders, in March 1978, the country was to be known as Zimbabwe Rhodesia, and in the general election of April 24, 1979, Bishop Abel Muzorewa became the country's first black prime minister. The factions led by Nkomo and Mugabe denounced the new government as a puppet of white Rhodesians and continued the war. The elections of 1980 resulted in a victory for Mugabe, as he became the first prime minister of Zimbabwe and solidifying the country's independence on April 18, 1980.

For the Culture

The name Zimbabwe was 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 found in the late 19th century. The numerous soapstone figurines in the form of a bird were found in the ruins; this Zimbabwe Bird later became a national symbol, incorporated into the Zimbabwe flag and shown in other places of high honour.


The capital city of Zimbabwe, Harare was previously known as Salisbury. Harare is home to many notable institutions in Zimbabwe such as the National Archive, the National Gallery, the Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences, the Harare International Airport, and the University of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s ethnic and linguistic diversity is reflected in the 2013 constitution, which gives official status to 16 languages: Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Khoisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangaan, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda, and Xhosa. Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa at 92%.

Zimbabwean cuisine

Zimbabwean delicacies are often served with sadza, "cooked cornmeal". It is a staple food in Zimbabwe and is produced by mixing cornmeal with water to produce a thick paste. It can be eaten with spinach, beans and meat and is often eaten with curdled milk known as mukaka wakakora. For breakfast, a thinner porridge, Bota is served usually flavoured with milk, butter, jam or peanut butter.

Other foods Zimbabweans enjoy are Mutsotso and Nhedzi soup (wild mushrooms) and game meat such as meat from ostrich, crocodiles, and warthogs. Dovi is a flavorful peanut stew from Zimbabwe made with crushed peanuts, garlic, onions, okra, vegetables such as carrots or potatoes, and stock or other liquids. The dish can be made with or without meat, typically chicken, goat, or lamb.

Notable Landmarks

Zimbabwe's landmarks tell a story of their rich history and attract tourism around its incredible natural beauty. One of its most popular sites to see is Victoria Falls, which is locally known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning "the smoke that thunders". The Victoria Falls is 1,708 meters wide, making it the largest curtain of water in the world that was designated as a World Heritage site in 1986. 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.

As mentioned above, the inspiration behind the name of Zimbabwe was Great Zimbabwe. It is an ancient city that hosts the largest stone structures south of the pyramids. Built entirely of stone it is estimated that the city housed as many as 18,000 inhabitants. It is now one of the most important archaeological sites in sub-Saharan Africa. It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 and comprises three connected complexes full of ruined towers, turrets, and walls all magnificently engineered and constructed from stone.

With its historical richness, the breadbasket of Africa is a sight to see and to learn from. We cannot wait to continue to share more information about Zimbabwe with you all.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to find out more information about Zimbabwe. Stay tuned for the next #56DaysofAfrica country highlight next Monday!

"We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For"

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