Zimbabwe: A very short background
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located within Southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers, bordering to Mozambique to the east, South Africa to the south, Botswana to the west and Zambia to the north and northwest.
The earliest settlers, the Khoisan, date back to 200B.C. howeverthe remains of early humans have been discovered in the South East of present-day Zimbabwe,
Size 390,757 km2
Population : 12 973 808 (Male 48%, Female 52%, under the age of 17 49%)(Census Preliminary Report)
dating back 500,000 years. After a period dominated by the Bantu, the Shona people ruled throughout the Monomutapa Empire where the trading links went as far as Asia. After the fall of the Monomutapa’s, the Nguni and Zulu peoples through the Mfecane (largest migration of people in the pre-colonial history of Southern Africa) had power in ancient Zimbabwe. By the mid-19th century, the descendants of the Nguni and Zulu, as a result of the death of King Shaka, King Mzilikazi and later his son King Lobengula had established a powerful warrior kingdom of the Ndebele, based 40km outside the modern day city of Bulawayo, the second largest city in Zimbabwe. The name Zimbabwe derives from the Shona phrase, “dzimba dzemabwe”, meaning Houses of Stone found across the country but the most important ancient city cite is symbolized by the Ancient Great Zimbabwe Monument near the present day town of Masvingo (Mlambo, 2014).
On the 18th of April 1980, following protracted liberation struggle against white minority rule, Zimbabwe attained Independence from Britain and became a majority-ruled constitutional republic. At Independence, Robert Gabriel Mugabe became Prime Minister and eventually President. Elections have been held every five years since then to choose Parliamentarians, Senators and the State President. Following a contested election in 2008, a power sharing deal was made between the parties ZANU-PF, the MDC-T and the MDC led by Welshman Ncube. During the period of coalition government, a constitutional development process was undertaken and the national framework was subjected to referendum on the 16th and 17th of March 2013 in which the public voted resoundly in its favour. On the 22nd of May 2013, the new constitution came into effect and is currently the primary governance framework for Zimbabwe. For more information on the Constitution please go to the Governance corner (Mlambo, 2014).
Zimbabwe has 16 Officially recognized languages, namely Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, Sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa. Namely and in practice three languages are utilized in government, that is Ndebele, English and Shona. However, English is traditionally used for official business as a lingua franca across the country. The capital city is the city of Harare which is the home to 12% of the population. Other major cities include Bulawayo, Gweru, Kadoma, Kwekwe, Masvingo and Mutare. Zimbabwe has 10 Administrative provinces namely; Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Harare, Midlands, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Bulawayo, Manicaland and Masvingo. In addition to this the country is divided into 91 Distracts and 1958 Wards (ZimStats, 2014).
Mlambo, A. S. (2014). A History of Zimbabwe. New York : Cambridge University Press.