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Zimbabwe(house of stones) is a landlocked country in southern Africa known for its dramatic landscape and diverse wildlife, much of it within parks, reserves and safari areas.
On the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls make a thundering 108m drop into narrow Batoka Gorge, where there are white-water rafting and bungee-jumping.
Harare in Zimbabwe’s northern Highveld region is the country’s capital and largest city.
Located in southern Africa, Zimbabwe borders Zambia, Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique.
Zimbabwe covers a total area of 390,580 square miles and has a population estimated at 15.6 million inhabitants.
Bulawayo City, situated in Matabeleland, is home to 1,200,337 residents. Bulawayo city was established as the royal capital of King Lobengula of the Ndebele Empire.
The name Bulawayo translates to ‘a place where he is being killed,’ symbolizing the armed struggle the King faced while claiming the throne. Bulawayo prides in a rich history, having been the setting of numerous battles as Africans resisted colonial rule.
The most famous of these battles is the Matabele Uprising, also known as the First Chimurenga.
The city developed as Zimbabwe’s industrial centre, and it is linked to the rest of the country and Zimbabwe’s southern African neighbours by a network of roads and rail.
Bulawayo has both colonial and urban architecture, tree-lined boulevards, and a well planned public structure.
In proximity to the city are the Matobo National Park, Victoria Falls, Khami Ruins, and the Matobo Hills.
Chitungwiza town lies south of the city of Harare and it is home to 365,026 inhabitants.
Chitungwiza town is relatively new, having been established through the integration of Zengeza, Seke, and St Marys townships in 1978.
The city has many suburbs and open markets which provide the residents with employment. Chitungwiza is a rapidly urbanizing region, set to be a fully-fledged city by 2018, under an ambitious expansion strategy approved by the government.
Mutare is home to 188,243 inhabitants and is Zimbabwe’s fourth largest city.
What started off as a camp for gold miners blossomed into a beautiful modern city. Mutare was granted city status in 1971, and it is the administrative and financial centre of Manicaland Province.
Most of the town’s residents are of Shona ethnicity. Mutare is also a tourist centre, is located near the Vumba and Nyanga Mountains and Murahwa Hill.
Mutare’s residents mainly engage in farming, cattle-keeping, and mining. The city’s historical attractions include the Utopia House Museum, National Gallery of Zimbabwe and Mutare Museum.
The rest of Zimbabwe’s cities and their respective populations are Epworth (152,116); Gweru (141,862); Kwekwe (100,900); Kadoma (77,749); Masvingo (72,527) and Chinhoyi (63,014).
By 2020, Zimbabwe’s population is estimated to be about 17.37 million. The country is set to experience high rates of rural-urban migration, and there is a need for proper planning in the country’s cities to keep up with the influx of new residents.
Downstream are Matusadona and Mana Pools national parks, home to hippos, rhinos and birdlife.
Since the 11th century, present-day Zimbabwe has been the site of several organised states and kingdoms as well as a major route for migration and trade.
The British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes first demarcated the present territory during the 1890s; it became the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia in 1923.
In 1965, the conservative white minority government unilaterally declared independence as Rhodesia.
The state endured international isolation and a 15-year guerrilla war with black nationalist forces; this culminated 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 its then government and from which it withdrew from in December 2003.
It 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 prosperity.
AllinZimbabwe.Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in 1980 when his ZANU-PF party won the elections following the end of white minority rule; he was the President of Zimbabwe from 1987 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.
Mugabe maintained the revolutionary socialist rhetoric of the Cold War era, blaming Zimbabwe’s economic woes on conspiring Western capitalist countries.
Contemporary African political leaders were reluctant to criticise Mugabe, who was burnished by his anti-imperialist credentials, though Archbishop Desmond Tutu called him “a cartoon figure of an archetypal African dictator”.
The country has been in economic decline since the 1990s, experiencing several crashes and hyperinflation along the way.
On 15 November 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.
On 19 November 2017, ZANU-PF sacked Robert Mugabe as party leader and appointed former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his place.
On 21 November 2017, Mugabe tendered his resignation prior to impeachment proceedings being completed.
AllinZimbabwe.com.The name “Zimbabwe” stems from a Shona term for Great Zimbabwe, an ancient ruined city 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 “large houses of stone” (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. Archaeologist Peter Garlake claims that “Zimbabwe” represents a contracted form of dzimba-hwe, which means “venerated houses” in the Zezuru dialect of Shona and usually references chiefs’ houses or graves.
Zimbabwe 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 the black nationalist 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 instigator of British colonisation of the territory during the late 19th century—was perceived by African nationalists as inappropriate because of its colonial origin and connotations.
According to Mawema, black nationalists held a meeting in 1960 to choose an alternative name for the country, proposing names such as “Matshobana” and “Monomotapa” before his suggestion, “Zimbabwe“, prevailed.
AllinZimbabwe.com.A further alternative, put forward by nationalists in Matabeleland, had been “Matopos”, referring to the Matopos Hills to the south of Bulawayo.
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, and that was that”.
The black nationalist factions subsequently used the name during the Second Chimurenga campaigns against the Rhodesian government during the Rhodesian Bush War of 1964–1979.
Major factions in this camp included the Zimbabwe African National Union (led by Robert Mugabe from 1975), and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (led by Joshua Nkomo from its founding in the early 1960s.