Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three official languages: English, Shona and Ndebele.
Zimbabwe began as the British crown colony of Southern Rhodesia, created from land held by the British South Africa Company. President Robert Mugabe is the head of State and Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Morgan Tsvangirai is the Prime Minister. Mugabe has been in power since the country's internationally recognized independence in 1980.
Culture and recreation
Zimbabwe has many different cultures which may include beliefs and ceremonies, one of them being Shona. Zimbabwe's largest ethnic group is Shona. The Shona people have many sculptures and carvings of gods (idols) which are made with the finest materials available.
Zimbabwe first celebrated its independence on 18 April 1980.Celebrations are held at either the National Sports Stadium or Rufaro Stadium in Harare. The first independence celebrations were held in 1980 at the Zimbabwe Grounds. At these celebrations doves are released to symbolise peace and fighter jets fly over and the national anthem is sung. The flame of independence is lit by the president after parades by the presidential family and members of the armed forces of Zimbabwe. The president also gives a speech to the people of Zimbabwe which is televised for those unable to attend the stadium.
Like in many African countries, the majority of Zimbabweans depend on a few staple foods. "Mealie meal", also known as cornmeal, is used to prepare sadza or isitshwala and bota or ilambazi. Sadza is a porridge made by mixing the cornmeal with water to produce a thick paste. After the paste has been cooking for several minutes, more cornmeal is added to thicken the paste.
This is usually eaten as lunch and dinner, usually with greens (such as spinach, chomolia, collard greens), beans and meat that has been stewed, grilled, or roasted. Sadza is also commonly eaten with curdled milk, commonly known as lacto (mukaka wakakora), or dried Tanganyika sardine, known locally as kapenta or matemba. Bota is a thinner porridge, cooked without the additional cornmeal and usually flavoured with peanut butter, milk, butter, or, sometimes, jam. Bota is usually eaten for breakfast.
Graduations, weddings, and any other family gatherings will usually be celebrated with the killing of a goat or cow, which will be barbecued or roasted by the family.
Afrikaner recipes are popular though they are a small group (0.2%) within the white minority group. Biltong, a type of jerky, is a popular snack, prepared by hanging bits of spiced raw meat to dry in the shade.Boerewors is served with sadza. It is a long sausage, often well-spiced, composed of beef rather than pork, and barbecued.
Since Zimbabwe was a British colony, they have adopted some English habits. For example, most people will have porridge in the morning, however they will still have 10 o'clock tea (midday tea). They will have lunch, which can be left-overs from the night before, freshly cooked sadza, or sandwiches (which is more common in the cities). After lunch there is usually 4 o'clock tea that is served before dinner. It is not uncommon for tea to be had after a dinner.
Since the Land Reform programme in 2000, tourism in Zimbabwe has steadily declined. After rising during the 1990s, (1.4 million tourists in 1999) industry figures described a 75% fall in visitors to Zimbabwe in 2000. By December, less than 20% of hotel rooms had been occupied.This has had a huge impact on the Zimbabwean economy. Thousands of jobs have been lost in the industry due to companies closing down or simply being unable to pay staff wages due to the decreasing number of tourists.
Several airlines have also pulled out of Zimbabwe. Australia's Qantas, Germany's Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines were among the first to pull out and most recently British Airways suspended all direct flights to Harare. The country's flagship airline Air Zimbabwe still flies to the United Kingdom. Many light aircraft charter companies operate in Zimbabwe, providing a quick and safe means of travel in the region. The biggest of these companies is Executive Air.
Zimbabwe boasts several major tourist attractions. Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, which are shared with Zambia, are located in the north west of Zimbabwe. Before the economic changes, much of the tourism for these locations came to the Zimbabwe side but now Zambia is the main beneficiary. The Victoria Falls National Park is also in this area and is one of the eight main national parks in Zimbabwe, largest of which is Hwange National Park.
The Eastern Highlands are a series of mountainous areas near the border with Mozambique. The highest peak in Zimbabwe, Mount Nyangani at 2,593 m (8,507 ft) is located here as well as the Bvumba Mountains and the Nyanga National Park. World's View is in these mountains and it is from here that places as far away as 6070 km (3743 mi) are visible and, on clear days, the town of Rusape can be seen.
Zimbabwe is unusual in Africa in that there are a number of ancient ruined cities built in a unique dry stone style. The most famous of these are the Great Zimbabwe ruins in Masvingo. Other ruins include Khami Ruins, Zimbabwe, Dhlo-Dhlo and Naletale, although none of these is as famous as Great Zimbabwe.
he Matobo Hills are an area of granite kopjes and wooded valleys commencing some 22 miles (35 km) south of Bulawayo in southern Zimbabwe. The Hills were formed over 2,000 million years ago with granite being forced to the surface, then being eroded to produce smooth "whaleback dwalas" and broken kopjes, strewn with boulders and interspersed with thickets of vegetation. Mzilikazi, founder of the Ndebele nation, gave the area its name, meaning 'Bald Heads'. They have become famous and a tourist attraction due to their ancient shapes and local wildlife. Cecil John Rhodes and other early white pioneers like Leander Starr Jameson are buried in these hills at a site named World's View.