Key Information About Zimbabwe

Quick Facts

Zimbabwe, landlocked country of southern Africa. It shares a 125-mile (200-kilometre) border on the south with the Republic of South Africa and is bounded on the southwest and west by Botswana, on the north by Zambia, and on the northeast and east by Mozambique. The capital is Harare (formerly called Salisbury).
Zimbabwe, lying north of the Tropic of Capricorn, is completely within the tropics but enjoys subtropical conditions because of its high average elevation. Toward the end of the hot, dry months, which last from August to October, monsoon winds that have crossed the Indian Ocean and Mozambique result in intense orographic rainfall when they meet the rampart formed by the eastern highlands.


Ethnic groups, languages, and religion

The indigenous people of Zimbabwe trace back to Bantu origins and are believed to have populated the land for more than 10 centuries. The Shona and Ndebele people are the two biggest ethnicities. The Shona form the majority of the population – approximately 80%. They traditionally have a strong regional clan structure, with six main groups: the Manyika, the Ndau, the Zezuru, the Karanga, the Korekore and the Rozvi. These groups are formed on the basis of linguistic and cultural similarities. The Ndebele comprise roughly 14% of the population and have two main tribal groups: the Ndebele and Kalanga. Smaller ethnic groups include the Venda, the Batonga/Balonka and the Shangani/Shangane people. Some white Zimbabweans (mainly of British origin) remain in the country and there are also some Asian communities in the cities. However, both these groups make up less than 1% of the population. Most white Zimbabweans migrated when the country achieved independence from British rule.

Almost all Zimbabweans can speak a native Bantu language, with Shona being the most widely spoken. Zezuru, Kalanga, Manyika and Ndau are the four main dialects of Shona that have a common vocabulary and similar tonal and grammatical features. However, English is used in government, administration, schooling and higher education. Hence, many Zimbabweans also speak English expertly. Urban Zimbabweans can generally alternate between Shona and English fluidly; however, some of the younger generation may be less fluent in their native tongue and need to substitute some Shona words with English words.


According to the African Development Bank (AfDB)’s latest Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook (MEO) report on the continent, the region will account for eleven of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies in 2024. Zimbabwe’s economy is estimated to have grown by 5,3 percent last year while the impact of El Nino climate conditions is expected to slowdown the agriculture-driven economy’s growth to 3,2 percent in 2024.

Cultural Life

The arts and cultural institutions

Zimbabwe’s culture is extremely diverse as a result of the many indigenous groups which call the country home. While Shona is the largest ethnic group with the predominant hold in many areas, there are several other groups which have influenced the Zimbabwe of today.

Authorities are very sensitive about taking pictures of governmental buildings, military installations and embassies. A permit can be granted by the government, but it’s not worth upsetting anyone for a memory so be careful about what you’re snapping. It is also interesting to note that homosexuality is illegal and dressing provocatively is one sign of that so better to dress modestly.

Traditional art in Zimbabwe is made up of several different skills, including weaving, pottery, sewing, and carving. The Shona people are renowned for their ornate wooden carvings of idols and ancient gods, while the Ndebele are known for their colorful textiles and hand-painted materials.

Music is also a large part of the Zimbabwean culture. While many of the indigenous beats have been neutralized by international styles like rock and pop, the country retains some of its traditional music. The mbira, or thumb piano, is a common instrument and the sungura is a popular local style of music.