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 Jewel of

The African continent is comprised of 54 nations, each with its own independent government and sovereignty, GDP, culture, natural resources, language(s), military, and religion. The treasure trove of mineral and raw material wealth has scarcely been touched and the continent's largely untapped fertile lands could feed the world. Herewith is Jewel of Africa, an interactive adventure in the cradle of mankind, an exploration of nations from A-Z in alphabetical order.

Zimbabwe: Diamond in the rough recovers from tumult 

The Republic of Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in southeast Africa, between the Zam- bezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa to the south, Zambia to the north, Botswana to the southwest, and Mozambique to the east.


Most of Zimbabwe is elevated, coprising a central plateau stretching from the southwest northerly with altitudes ranging from 3,280 to 5,249 feet. The country's extreme east is mountainous, known as the Eastern Highlands, with Mt. Nyangani the highest point at 8,504 feet. The highlands are known for their tourist destinations — Nyanga, Troutbeck, Chimanimani, Vumba and Chirinda Forest at Mt. Selinda. About 20 percent of the country consists of low-lying areas below 3,000 feet. Victoria Falls, one of the world's most spectacular waterfalls, is located in the country's extreme northwest and is part of the Zambezi river.


Zimbabwe has a subtropical climate with many local variations. The southern areas are known for their heat and aridity, parts of the central plateau receive frost in winter, the Zambezi valley is also known for its extreme heat and the Eastern Highlands usually experience cool temperatures and the highest rainfall in the country. The country's rainy season generally runs from late October to March and the hot climate is moderated by increasing altitude. Zimbabwe is faced with recurring droughts. The most recent began in early 2015 and ensued through 2016.


Zimbabwe contains seven terrestrial eco-regions: Kalahari Acacia-Baikiaea woodlandsSouthern Africa bushveldSouthern miombo woodlandsZambezian Baikiaea woodlandsZambezian and mopane woodlandsZambezian halophytics, and Eastern Zimbabwe montane forest-grassland mosaicThe country is mostly savannah, although the moist and mountainous eastern highlands support areas of tropical evergreen and hardwood forests. Trees in these Eastern Highlands include teakmahogany, enormous specimens of strangling fig, forest Newtonia, big leaf, white stinkwood, chirinda stinkwood, and knobthorn.

In the low-lying parts of the country, fever trees, mopane, combretum, and baobabs abound. Much of the country is covered by miombo woodland, dominated by brachystegia species and others. Among the numerous flowers and shrubs are hibiscus, flame lily, snake lily, spider lily, leonotus, cassia, tree wisteria, and dombeya.


There are around 350 species of mammals that can be found in Zimbabwe. There are also many snakes and lizards, over 500 bird species, and 131 fish species. The wildlife of Zimbabwe occurs foremost in remote or rugged terrain, in national parks and private wildlife ranches, in miombo woodlands and thorny acacia or kopje. The prominent wild fauna includes cape buffalo bush ele- phantblack rhinoceros, hippopotamus,  giraffe, zebra, lion, leopard, hyena, and several antelope species.

The introduction of the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1960 resulted in checking the loss of wildlife

in Zimbabwe, since the 1960s. In the 1990s, it became one of the leading countries in Africa in wildlife conservation and management with a reported income generation of US$300 million per


The massive Victoria Falls is the pride of Zimbabwe. Here, the Zambezi River plummets over a cliff and into the Boiling Pot before flowing through a series of gorges. The Devil’s Pool, a natural infinity pool, is on the edge of a sheer drop. Spanning the river is 1905 Victoria Falls Bridge. The surrounding Zambezi National Park is home to white rhinos and elephants.


Zimbabwe Exhales!


The baobab tree is uniquely African!

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Zimbabwe is a blessed land of good and plenty abounding with goodness, from its mines brimming with diamonds, gold, precious gemstones, and raw minerals; to its breadbaskets  overflowing with fresh harvest from the Earth.

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Harare is the capital and most populous city in oZimbabwe, bearing a population of 1.5 million. The city proper has an

area of 371 square miles miles. Situated in north-eastern Zimbabwe in the country's Mashonaland 

region, Harare is a metro- politan province, which also incorporates the municipal- ities of Chitungwiza and Epworth. The city sits on a

plateau at an elevation of 4,865 feet above sea level. The cli- mate is subtropical. The city was renamed Harare, from its original name, Salisbury on the second anniversary of Zim- babwe's independence from the UK in 1982. 

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year from the protected areas of the state, rural community-run wildlife management areas, and private game ranches and reserves. The Parks and Wildlife Board consisting of 12 members is responsible for this activity and deciding on policy issues under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management. The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority under the Board has the onerous task of overseeing the activities related to 10 national parks, nine recreational parks, four botanical gardens, four safari areas, and three sanctuaries. These areas are collectively called the Wildlife Estate which covers an area about 18,000 square miles, which is equivalent to 12.5 percent of the total land area of the country.

However, National Geographic reports indicate a disturbing trend of the decimation of wildlife in Zimbabwe as result of “national economic meltdown” leading to overexploitation of  wildlife resources to meet the finances of the nation.


Since the 11th century, the region, now Zimbabwe has been the site of several organized states and kingdoms such as the RozviMutapa and Mthwakazi. The kingdoms have always been a major route for migration and trade.

The British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes first demarcated the present territory in 1890 when they con- quered Mashonaland and later in 1893, Matabeleland after fierce resistance by Matabele people known as the First Matabele WarCompany rule ended in 1923 with the establishment of Southern Rhodesia as a self-governing British colony. In 1965, the conservative White minority government unilaterally declared its independence as Rhodesia.

The state endured international isolation and a 15-year guerrilla war with Black nationalist forces, ultimately cul- minating in a peace agreement that established universal enfranchisement and de jure sovereignty as Zimbabwe in April 1980. Zimbabwe then joined the Commonwealth of Nations, from which it was suspended in 2002 for breaches of international law by the government under Robert Mugabe.

The sovereign state is a member of the United Nations, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). It was once known as the "Jewel of Africa" for its great prosperity. Mugabe became Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in 1980, when his ZANU-PF party wonthe elections follow- ing the end of White minority rule. He was elected president in 1987, and held the office until his resignation in 2017.


Under Mugabe's authoritarian regime, the state security apparatus dominated the country and was responsible for widespread human rights violations. From the 2000 to 2009 the economy experienced decline and hyperinflation before rebounding after the use of currencies other than the Zimbabwean dollar was permitted. Growth has since faltered.

On Nov. 15, 2017, in the wake of over a year of protests against his government as well as Zimbabwe's rapidly declining economy, Mugabe was placed under house arrest by the country's national army in a coup d'état and resigned as president six days afterward on Nov. 21 . Since then, Emmerson Mnangagwa has served as Zimbab- we's president.

The name "Zimbabwe" stems from a Shona term for Great Zimbabwe, a medieval city (Masvingo) in the country's south-east whose remains are now a protected site. Two different theories address the origin of the word. Many sources hold that "Zimbabwe" derives from dzimba-dza-mabwe, translated from the Karanga dialect of Shona as "houses of stones" (dzimba = plural of imba, "house"; mabwe = plural of bwe, "stone").

The Karanga-speaking Shona people live around Great Zimbabwe in the modern day province of Masvingo. Zim- babwe was formerly known as Southern Rhodesia (1898), Rhodesia (1965), and Zimbabwe Rhodesia (1979). The first recorded use of "Zimbabwe" as a term of national reference dates from 1960 as a coinage by Black nation- alist Michael Mawema, whose Zimbabwe National Party became the first to officially use the name in 1961. 

The term "Rhodesia"—derived from the surname of Cecil Rhodes, the primary architect of British colonization of the territory during the late 19th century—was perceived by African nationalists as inappropriate due to its colonial origin and connotations. It was initially unclear how the chosen term was to be used—a letter written by Mawema in 1961 refers to "Zimbabweland" — but "Zimbabwe" was sufficiently established by 1962 to become the generally preferred term of the Black nationalist movement. In a 2001 interview, Black nationalist Edson Zvobgo recalled that Mawema mentioned the name during a political rally, "and it caught hold.


The Black nationalist factions subsequently used the name during the Second Chimurenga campaigns against the Rhodesian government during the Rhodesian Bush War from 1964-1979. Major factions in this camp included the Zimbabwe African National Union, led by Mugabe from 1975, and the Zimbabwe African People's Union, led by Joshua Nkomo.

During the elections of February 1980, Robert Mugabe and the ZANU party secured a landslide victory. Prince Charles, as the representative of Britain, formally granted independence to the new nation of Zimbabwe at a ceremony in Harare in April 1980.

Independence era 1980–present

Zimbabwe's first president after its independence was Canaan Banana in what was originally a mainly ceremonial role as Head of State. Mugabe, leader of the ZANU party, was the country's first Prime Minister and head of gov- ernment. Opposition to what was perceived as a Shona takeover immediately erupted around Matabeleland. The Matabele unrest led to what has become known as Gukurahundi (Shona: "the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains"). The Fifth Brigade, a North Korean-trained elite unit that reported directly to the Zimbabwean Prime Minister, entered Matabeleland and massacred thousands of civilians accused of supporting dissidents.

Estimates for the number of deaths during the five-year Gukurahundi campaign ranged from 3,000 to 80,000. Thousands more were tortured in military internment camps. The campaign ended in 1987 after Nkomo and Mugabe reached a unity agreement that merged their respective parties, creating the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Elections in March 1990 resulted in another victory for Mugabe and the ZANU-PF party, which claimed 117 of the 120 contested seats.

During the 1990s, students, trade unionists, and other workers often demonstrated to express their growing discontent with Mugabe and ZANU-PF party policies. In 1996, civil servants, nurses, and junior doctors went on strike over salary issues. The general health of the population began to decline, and by 1997 an estimated 25 percent of the population had been infected by HIV in a pandemic that was affecting most of southern Africa.

Land redistribution re-emerged as the main issue for the ZANU-PF government around 1997. Despite the exis- tence of a "willing-buyer-willing-seller" land reform program since the 1980s, the minority White Zimbabwean pop- ulation estimated at 0.6 percent, continued to hold 70 percent of the country's most fertile farmland.

In 2000, the government pressed ahead with its Fast Track Land Reform program, a policy involving compulsory land acquisition aimed at redistributing land from the minority White population to the majority Black population. Confiscations of White farmland ensued, and coupled with drought, and a drop in external finance and other sup- ports, led to a sharp decline in agricultural exports, which were traditionally the country's leading cash export. Roughly 58,000 independent Black farmers haveonly experienced limited success in reviving the gutted cash crop sectors through efforts on a smaller scale.

President Mugabe and the ZANU-PF party leadership found themselves beset by a wide range of international sanctions. In 2002, the nation was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations due to the reckless farm seiz- ures and blatant election tamperingThe following year, Zimbabwean officials voluntarily terminated the nation’s Commonwealth membership. In 2001, the US enacted the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA), freezing credit to the Zimbabwean government. The bill was sponsored by Bill Frist and co-sponsored by then US senators Hillary ClintonJoe BidenRuss Feingold, and Jesse Helms.

Through ZDERA Section 4C ("Multilateral Financing Restriction"), the Secretary of the Treasury is ordered to direct US Directors at the International Financial Institutions listed in Section 3 "to oppose and vote against — (1) any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe; or (2) any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any inter- national financial institution."

By 2003, the country's economy had collapsed. It is estimated that up to a quarter of Zimbabwe's 11 million people fled the country. Three-quarters of the remaining Zimbabweans were living on less than one US dollar a day. Fol- lowing elections in 2005, the government initiated "Operation Murambatsvina," an effort to crack down on illegal markets and slums emerging in towns and cities, leaving a substantial section of urban poor homeless. The Zim- babwean government has described the operation as an attempt to provide decent housing to the population, although according to critics such as Amnesty International, authorities have yet to substantiate their claims.

On 29 March 2008, Zimbabwe held a presidential election along with a parliamentary election. The results of this election were withheld for two weeks, after which it was generally acknowledged that the Movement for Democratic Change — Tsvangirai (MDC-T) had achieved a majority of one seat in the lower house of parliament.

On July 10, 2008, Russia and China vetoed UN sanctions on Zimbabwe pushed by the UK and the US. The United States drafted the file, which would have placed an arms embargo on Mugabe's regime. However, nine of 15 coun- tries on the UN Security Council opposed it, including Vietnam, South Africa and Libya, which argued Zimbabwe was not a “threat to international peace and security.”

In late 2008, problems in Zimbabwe reached crisis proportions in the areas of living standards, public health (with a major cholera outbreak in December) and various basic affairs. During this period, NGOs took over from govern- ment as a primary provider of food during this period of food insecurity in Zimbabwe.

In September 2008, a power-sharing agreement was reached between Tsvangirai and President Mugabe, permit- ting the former to hold the office of prime minister. Due to ministerial differences between their respective political parties, the agreement was not fully implemented until February 2009. By December 2010, Mugabe was threat- ening to completely expropriate remaining privately owned companies in Zimbabwe unless "western sanctions"


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were lifted. A 2011 survey by Freedom House suggested that living conditions had improved since the power-sharing agreement. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated in its 2012-2013 planning document that the "humanitarian situation has improved in Zimbabwe since 2009, but conditions remain precarious for many people.”

Mugabe was re-elected president in the July 2013, shortly after Vice President Joshua Nkomo died of cancer on July 1, 1999 at age 82. 

The Zimbabwe general election was described by The Economist  as "rigged," and the Daily Telegraph as "stolen.” The Movement for Democratic Change alleged massive fraud and tried to seek relief through the courts. A 2017 study conducted by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) concluded that due to the deterioration of government and the economy, "the government encourages corruption to make up for its inability to fund its own institutions" with widespread and informal police roadblocks to issue fines to travelers, being one example. 


In July 2016 nationwide protests occurred regarding the economic collapse in the country and the finance minister admitted ,"Right now we literally have nothing."

In November 2017, the army led a coup d’etat, placing Mugabe under house arrest and deposed Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The army denied their actions constituted a coup, however, and on Nov. 19, 2017, ZANU-PF replaced him with deposed Vice President Mnangagwa. Two days later on Nov. 21, 2017, Mugabe tendered his resignation ahead of impeachment proceedings. 

On July 30, 2018 Zimbabwe held its general elections, which were won by the ZANU-PF party led by Mnangagwa. Nelson Chamisa who was leading the main opposition party MDC Alliance, contested the election results and filed a petition to the Constitution Court of Zimbabwe.  The court upheld and confirmed Mnangagwa's victory, making him the newly-elected president.

Government and politics

Zimbabwe is a republic with a presidential system of government. The semi-presidential system was abolished with the adoption of a new constitution after a referendum in March 2013. Under the constitutional changes the government is made up of an upper chamber, and Senate, and the House of Assembly is the lower chamber of Parliament. The African National Union-PF, remains the dominant political party in Zimbabwe.

The MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai is now the majority in the Lower chamber of Parliament. The MDC split into two factions. One faction (MDC-M), now led by Arthur Mutambara, a robotics professor and former NASA robotics specialist. He replaced Welshman Ncube, who was the interim leader of MDC-M after the split. Morgan Tsvangirai did not participate in the Senate elections, while the Mutambara faction participated and won five seats in the Senate. The Mutambara formation has been weakened by defections from MPs and individuals who are disillu- sioned by their manifesto. As of 2008, the Movement for Democratic Change has become the most popular, with crowds as large as 20,000 attending their rallies, compared to between 500 and 5,000 for the other formation.

Foreign relations

According to the Council on Foreign Relations Zimbabwe is “politically polarized,” around the world and is likely to continue down this path of political violence at the hands of the state, and economic deterioration. The Council wrote, “Zimbabwe has tremendous potential, with rich natural resources and one of the most educated populations in Africa. [But] how can the United States and international actors help arrest this downward spiral and support Zimbabwe’s recovery? Although Zimbabwe does not have much strategic value to the United States, America is the largest bilateral donor to Zimbabwe and holds some leverage.”



The Zimbabwe Defense Forces were set up by unifying three insurrectionist forces—the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA), the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), and the Rhodesian Security Forces (RSF)—after the Second Chimurenga and Zimbabwean independence in 1980. The integration period saw the formation of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) as separate entities. The ZNA has an active duty strength of 30,000 soldiers. The Air Force has an estimated 5,139 standing personnel. The Zimbabwe Republic Police (includes Police Support Unit, Paramilitary Police) is part of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces and numbers 25,000.

Commanding officers are selected by political appointments, and ZANLA and ZANU fighters consequently quickly form the majority of battalion commanders in the ZNA. The ZNA was originally formed into four brigades, com- prised of a total of 28 battalions. The brigade support units were composed almost entirely of specialists of the former Rhodesian Army, while un-integrated battalions of the Rhodesian African Rifles were assigned to the 1st, 3rd and 4th Brigades.

Administrative divisions

Zimbabwe has a centralized government and is divided into eight provinces and two cities with provincial status, for administrative purposes. Each province has a provincial capital from where government administration is usually carried out. The names of most of the provinces were generated from the Mashonaland and Matabeleland divide at the time of colonization. Mashonaland was the territory occupied first by the British South Africa Com- pany Pioneer Column, and Matabeleland, the territory conquered during the First Matabele War. This corresponds roughly to the precolonial territory of the Shona people and the Matabele people, although there are significant ethnic minorities in most provinces. Each province is headed by a provincial governor appointed by the president.

The provincial government is run by a provincial administrator, appointed by the Public Service Commission. Other government functions at provincial level are carried out by provincial offices of national government departments. The provinces are subdivided into 59 districts and 1,200 wards, sometimes referred to as municipalities. Each district is headed by a district administrator, appointed by the Public Service Commission. There is also a Rural District Council, which appoints a chief executive officer.


Minerals, gold, and agriculture are the main foreign exports of Zimbabwe. Tourism also plays a key role in its economy. The mining sector remains very lucrative, with some of the world's largest platinum reserves mined by Anglo American plc and Impala Platinum. The Marange diamond fields,  which were discovered in 2006, are considered the biggest diamond find in more than a century. They have the potential to improve the fiscal situation of the country considerably.

In terms of carats produced, the Marange field is one of the largest diamond producing projects in the world, estimated to produce 12 million carats in 2014 worth more than $350 million. Zimbabwe is the biggest trading partner of South Africa on the African continent.

Taxes and tariffs are high for private enterprises, while state enterprises are strongly subsidized. State regulation is

costly to companies; starting or closing a business is slow and costly. According to the World Bank in Zimbabwe, the economy resurged in 2021 mainly boosted by higher agricultural production, improved capacity utilization in industry, and stabilization of prices and exchange rates. The strong rebound was anchored by a better 2020/21 rain season, boosting agriculture, electricity, and water. Stabilizing prices, increasing investment in public infrastructure bolstered domestic demand.

Growth is expected to strengthen further in 2022 as the negative impacts of COVID-19 subside, rain levels remain good, and implementation of policies outlined in the National Development Strategy accelerates. Good vaccination progress is likely to boost tourism, trade, transport, and other sectors that were negatively affected by pandemic disruptions. Continued implementation of disinflation policies and fine-tuning of the foreign exchange auction mar- ket are expected to keep average annual inflation at two-digit levels in 2022 and 2023. Annual inflation stood at 50 percent in August 2021 down from a high of 838 percent in July of 2020 following the introduction of rule-based reserve money management, a foreign exchange auction, and relaxation of de-dollarization.

Zimbabwe received equivalent of US$961 million from IMF SDR allocation, with an immediate impact of boosting gross international reserves which were critically low. Improved economic environment eased social conditions although poverty levels remained high. With a significant proportion of households experiencing reduced or no income since the onset of the pandemic and the coverage of social assistance programs remains low. The number of people living below the international poverty line is expected to marginally decline in 2022, supported by expec- ted economic growth and relatively lower inflation. 


Zimbabwe's commercial farming sector was traditionally a source of exports and foreign exchange, and provided 400,000 jobs. However, the government's land reform program badly damaged the sector, turning Zimbabwe into a net importer of food products.[2] For example, between 2000 and 2016, annual wheat production fell from 250,000 tons to 60,000 tons, maize was reduced from two million tons to 500,000 tons and cattle slaughtered for beef fell from 605,000 to 244,000.[88] Coffee production, once a prized export commodity, came to a virtual halt after sei- zure or expropriation of White-owned coffee farms in 2000 and has never recovered.

For the past 10 years, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has been assisting Zimbabwe's farmers to adopt conservation agriculture techniques, a sustainable method of farming that can help increase yields. By applying the three principles of minimum soil disturbance, legume-based cropping and the use of organic mulch, farmers can improve infiltration, reduce evaporation and soil erosion, and build up organic soil content.

Sowing of the 2022 cereal crops is nearly complete. Conditions for planting and crop emergence have been mostly favorable, reflecting near-average rainfall amounts across the country in November and early December 2021. A reduction in rainfall in the second half of December in northern parts of the country, where the bulk of the national maize crop is produced, combined with abnormally high temperatures, is likely to have been detrimental to crop growth. Although remote sensing data depicted slightly poorer than average vegetation conditions in northwestern areas, reflecting the reduced rains, vegetation health was generally near average in early January 2022 in most provinces of the country.

Looking further ahead, weather forecasts for February and March 2022 point to a higher‑than‑normal probability of reduced rainfall amounts. These months are generally a critical period for the development of cereal grains and water stress can cause large yield reductions. The 2022 maize production is forecast at an above‑average level, but substantially below the exceptional output of 2021. Production of maize, the principal food crop, after final tabulations, is estimated at 2.7 million tons, more than double the five‑year average.


The large outturn reflects an expansion in the sown area, estimated at a well above average level of 1.9 million hectares, and high yields. The upturn in crop productivity results from almost ideal weather conditions throughout the season and widespread distribution of subsidized agricultural inputs, mostly fertilizers, through government programs, including the Presidential Input Scheme that targeted about 1.8 million smallholder farmers.

Outturns of other cereal crops, including sorghum and millet, are also estimated to come in at high levels from 2021, exceeding the five‑year averages. Production of wheat, which was harvested during the last quarter of 2021, is estimated at a well above‑average level of over 300 000 tons. Total cereal production in 2021 came in around 3.4 million tons, nearly two million tons above the five‑year average.

On account of the large domestic output, cereal import requirements in the 2021/22 marketing year (April/March) have been cut significantly. Total cereal imports, which would now almost entirely comprise of rice and wheat, with very limited quantities of maize in contrast to previous years, are forecast to be lower than 200 000 tons, well below the five‑year average. In addition, national stocks are forecast to be built up to an above‑average level, inferring a comfortable domestic supply situation.


Due to large investments in education since independence, Zimbabwe has the highest adult literacy rate in Africa which in 2013 was 90.70 percent. This is lower than the 92 percent recorded in 2010 by the United Nations Devel- opment Program, and the 97.0 percent recorded in the 2002 census, while still substantially higher than 80.4 percent recorded in the 1992 census. The education department has stated that 20,000 teachers have left Zim- babwe since 2007 and that half of Zimbabwe's children have not progressed beyond primary school.

Zimbabwe's education system consists of two years of pre-school, seven years of primary, and six years of secon- dary schooling before students can enter a university. The academic year in Zimbabwe runs from January to Dec- ember, with three terms, broken up by one month holidays, in a 40-week school year. National examinations are written during the third term in November, with "O" level and "A" level subjects offered in June.

There are seven public universities as well as four church-related universities in Zimbabwe that are internationally accredited. The University of Zimbabwe, the first and largest, was built in 1952 and is located in the Harare suburb of Mount PleasantNational University of Science and Technology (NUST) is the second largest public research university in Zimbabwe located in Bulawayo. It was established in 1991. Africa University is a United Methodist related university institution located in Manicaland, which attracts students from 36 African countries. The institu- tion has been growing steadily and has steady study material and learning facilities.



Tourism is Zimbabwe’s third largest sector after mining and agriculture and has the potential to play a significant role in Zimbabwe’s economic recovery.  Zimbabwe has a number of national parks and natural attractions such as Hwange, Mana Pools, Gonarezhou national parks, Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba, and the Great Zimbabwe National Monument. 

Unfortunately, statistics from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) show that tourist arrivals to Zimbabwe fell by 11 percent in 2019, to $2.29 million from $2.57 million in 2018, due to destination image issues associated with the government’s crackdown on peaceful protests following the August 2018 elections and January 2019 stay-away demonstrations to protest an increase in fuel prices.  Most visitors came from within Africa and the Middle East while the country registered declines in arrivals from Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and Asia.


The ZTA said the harsh macroeconomic climate and rapid inflation contributed to the country’s decline in hotel occupancy rate over the same period.  While statistics for 2020 are not yet available, the situation continued to deteriorate due to global reduction in international travel as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Available ZTA data shows that tourist visits declined from 639,356 in the first quarter of 2020 to 65,882 in the first quarter 2021.

Science and technology

Zimbabwe has relatively well-developed national infrastructure and a long-standing tradition of promoting research and development (R&D), as evidenced by the levy imposed on tobacco-growers since the 1930s to promote mar- ket researchThe country also has a well-developed education system, with one in 11 adults holding a tertiary degree. Given the country's solid knowledge base and abundant natural resources, Zimbabwe has the potential to figure among the countries leading growth in African nations below the Sahara by 2020 was ranked 120th in the Global Innovation Index in 2020, up from 122nd in 2019.

To do so, however, Zimbabwe will need to correct a number of structural weaknesses. For instance, it lacks the critical mass of researchers needed to trigger innovation. Although the infrastructure is in place to harness research and development to Zimbabwe's socio-economic development, universities and research institutions lack the financial and human resources to conduct research and the regulatory environment hampers the transfer of new technologies to the business sector.

The economic crisis has precipitated an exodus of university students and professionals in key areas of expertise (medicine, engineering, etc.) that is of growing concern. More than 22 percent of Zimbabwean tertiary students were completing their degrees abroad in 2012, compared to a 4 percent average for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. In 2012, there were 200 researchers (head count) employed in the public sector, one-quarter of whom were women. This is double the continental average (91 in 2013) but only one-quarter the researcher density of South Africa (818 per million inhabitants).


Zimbabwe's total population is 15.3 million. According to the United Nations World Health Organization. The largest city is Harare, bearing a population of 1.5 million. The life expectancy for men is 56 years and for women is 60 years. According to current projections, Zimbabwe’s population is expected to continue growing throughout the rest of the century. At the end of 2020, the population was 14.86 million people and is expected to reach 30.96 million by 2099, more than double its current population.

Zimbabwe’s population growth rate is 1.48 percent, which is expected to slow significantly towards the end of the century, causing the population growth curve to flatten. Zimbabwe has a relatively high fertility rate of 3.63 children per woman. Despite a negative net migration, the fertility rate helps the population grow by 200,000 each year. The fertility rate also plays a huge role in keep Zimbabwe’s population young with a median age of 18.7 years. The population projecting to double in Zimbabwe exacerbates the country’s struggles, especially concerning poverty and unemployment, which are both significantly high.

The rate of population growth has been consistently on the rise since 2005, and is having positive impacts on Zimbabwe economically and politically. Although difficult to prove causation, foreign domestic investment, exports, inflation rate, and interest rate have all been moving in a healthy direction since the population has been growing at a healthy rate. The birth rate in Zimbabwe is roughly 3.75 children born per woman, which is a much more sustainable number than many surrounding nations- accounting for the 2019 annual growth rate of 2.27 percent.

Ethnic groups

Africans make up 98 percent of the total population in Zimbabwe and are mainly related to the two major Bantu-speaking groups, the Shona, about 82 percent of the population; and the Ndebele, roughly 14 percent. Of the former group, the Korekore predominate in the north, Zezuru are in the center around Harare, Karanga in the south, Ndau and Manyika in the east, Kalanga in the west, and Rozwi are spread throughout the country. The various clans of the Ndebele, more recent immigrants from the south, occupy the area around Bulawayo and Gwanda. Other groups account for 11 percent of the African populace and include the Tonga near Kariba Lake, and the Sotho, Venda, and Hlengwe along the southern border.

Whites make up one percent of the non-African population. Europeans are almost entirely immigrants from the UK or South Africa or their descendants. Those from South Africa include a substantial number of South African Dutch or Afrikaner descent. There are small groups of Portuguese, Italians, and other Europeans. Asians and peoples of mixed ancestry make up the remaining one percent.


English is the main language used in the education and judicial systems. The Bantu languages Shona and Nde- bele are the principal indigenous languages of Zimbabwe. Shona is spoken by 78 percent of the population; Ndebele by 20 percent. Other minority Bantu languages include Venda, Tsonga, Shangaan, Kalanga, Sotho, Ndau and Nambya. Less than 2.5 percent, mainly the White and "Colored" (mixed race) minorities, consider English their native language. English is spoken primarily in the cities, but less so in rural areas. Radio and television news now broadcast in Shona, Sindebele, and English.

Due to its extensive border with Mozambique, there is a large community of Portuguese speakers in Zimbabwe, mainly in the border areas with Mozambique and major cities, such as Harare and Bulawayo. Beginning in 2017, Portuguese instruction was implemented in secondary education in Zimbabwe.  Zimbabwe recognizes 16 official languages under the constitution.


According to the 2015 nationwide Demographic and Health Survey conducted by the government statistics agency, 86 percent of the population of Zimbabwe is Christian and 11 percent report no religious affiliation. Less than two percent adheres uniquely to traditional beliefs, and less than one percent is Muslim. According to the survey, under the banner of Christianity, 37 percent is Apostolic, 21 percent Pentecostal, 21 percent other Chris- tian, and seven percent Roman Catholic. While there are no reliable statistics regarding the percentage of the Christian population that is syncretic, many Christians also associate with traditional beliefs.


Most of the Muslim population lives in rural areas and some high-density suburbs with smaller numbers living in other suburbs. There are also small numbers of Greek Orthodox, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Baha’is.



Zimbabwe has many different cultures which may include beliefs and ceremonies, one of them being Shona, Zimbabwe's largest ethnic group. The Shona people have many sculptures and carvings which are made with the finest materials available. Zimbabwe first celebrated its independence on April 18 1980. Celebrations are held at either the National Sports Stadium or Rufaro Stadium in Harare. During these celebrations, doves are released symbolizing peace and the air force conducts fighter jets flyovers, while the national anthem is sung.

The flame of independence is lit by the president after parades by the presidential family and members of the Zimbabwean armed forces. On the day the president also delivers a commemorative address, which is also televised for millions of Zimbabweans watching from home. The Miss Heritage Zimbabwe beauty contest is also held on this day commemorating the holiday.


Traditional arts in Zimbabwe include creating and displaying potterybasketry, textiles, and jewelry.  Among the distinctive qualities are symmetrically patterned woven baskets and stools carved out of a single piece of wood. Shona sculpture has become better known after finding initial popularity in the 1940s.


Several authors are well known within Zimbabwe and abroad. Charles Mungoshi is renowned in Zimbabwe for writing traditional stories in English and in Shona, and his poems and books have sold well with both the Black and White communities.  Catherine Buckle has achieved international recognition for her two books African Tears and Beyond Tears which tell the story of her ordeal under the 2000 Land Reform.

Notable artists include Henry Mudzengerere and Nicolas Mukomberanwa. A recurring theme in Zimbabwean art is the metamorphosis of man into beast. Zimbabwean musicians like Thomas MapfumoOliver Mtukudzi, the Bhundu BoysStella ChiwesheAlick Macheso and Audius Mtawarira have achieved international recognition.


Like in many African countries, the majority of Zimbabweans depend on a few staple foods. Cornmeal is used to prepare sadza or isitshwala, as well as porridge known as bota or ilambazi. Sadza is made by mixing the cornmeal with water to produce a thick porridge. This is usually eaten as lunch or dinner, usually with gravyvegetables such as spinachchomolia or collard greens), beans, and stewed, grilled, roasted or sundried meat. Sadza is also com- monly eaten with curdled milk, commonly known as mukaka wakakora or dried Tanganyika sardine, known locally as kapenta or matemba.  A thinner porridge called Bota, which is flavored with peanut butter, milk, butter or jam, is traditionally eaten for breakfast.

Rice, pasta, and potato-based foods (french fries and mashed potatoes) also constitute part of Zimbabwean cuisine. A local favorite is rice cooked with peanut butter, which is eaten with thick gravy, mixed vegetables, and meat. A potpourri of peanuts known as nzungu, boiled and sundried maize, black-eyed peas known as nyemba, and bambara groundnuts known as nyimo comprise a traditional dish called mutakura. Mutakura. Zimbabwean snacks include maputi (roasted/popped maize kernels similar to popcorn), roasted and salted peanutssugar canesweet potato, pumpkin, and indigenous fruits such as horned melon, and sugar plums.


Football (also known as soccer) is the most popular sport in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe team, nicknamed the Warriors, have qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations five times—2004, 2006, 2017, 2019, and 2021. The team has won the Southern Africa championship six times—2000, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2017, and 2018; and the Eastern Africa cup once, in 1985. The team is ranked 115th in the world (Fifa World Rankings Nov 2018).

Rugby union is a significant sport in Zimbabwe. The national team have represented the country at two Rugby World Cup tournaments in 1987 and 1991. The team is ranked 26 in the world by World Rugby. Zimbabwe has won eight Olympic medals; one in field hockey with the women's team at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, and seven by swimmer Kirsty Coventry; three at the 2004 Summer Olympics and four at the 2008 Summer Games.

Other sports played in Zimbabwe are basketball, volleyball, netball, and water polo, as well as squashmotorsport, martial arts, chess, cycling, polo-crossekayaking, and horse racing.

Zimbabwean Samson Muripo is a world champion in Kyokushin karate. He is a two-time World Kyokushi Karate Champion, and the first Black and African person to become a World Kyokushin Karate Champion in Osaka, Japan in 2009.


The media of Zimbabwe is now once again diverse, having come under tight restriction between 2002 and 2008 by the government during the growing economic and political crisis in the country. The Zimbabwean constitution promises freedom of the media and expression. Since the appointment of a new media and information minister in 2013 the media is facing less political interference and the supreme court has ruled some sections of  strict media laws as unconstitutional. 

In July 2009 the BBC and CNN were able to resume operations and report legally and openly from Zimbabwe. CNN welcomed the move. The Zimbabwe Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity stated that, "the Zimbabwe government never banned the BBC from carrying out lawful activities inside Zimbabwe.” The BBC also welcomed the move saying, "we're pleased at being able to operate openly in Zimbabwe once again.”

In 2010 the Zimbabwe Media Commission was established by the inclusive, power-sharing government. In May 2010 the Commission licensed three new privately owned newspapers, including the previously banned Daily News, for publication. Reporters Without Borders described the decisions as a "major advance.” In June 2010. News Day became the first independent daily newspaper to be published in Zimbabwe in seven years.

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. / Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 License