163 Zimbabwe Culture Facts That Are Unique To This African Country

Joan Agie
Jan 23, 2024 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Jan 20, 2022
Let us learn more about Zimbabwe culture facts.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.0 Min

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country.

Zimbabwe is situated in Southern Africa. It is a land well preserved by nature.

Zimbabwe has a diverse culture. It has many different tribes living in it. There are 16 official languages in Zimbabwe. Its currency is the US dollar. It is a country that was highly affected by the worldwide recession in 2008. After the civil war, Zimbabwe gained its independence in 1980. It is a land of many indigenous beliefs. It was called Southern Rhodesia before independence. Independence Day is on April 18, 1980.

Fun Facts About Zimbabwe's Culture

Zimbabwe is a land full of different cultures situated in Southern Africa.

Shona was the original ethnic group of Zimbabwe. They settled here in medieval times. The Shona dialect is the national language of Zimbabwe. Shona sculpture is inspired by their indigenous beliefs. There are many cultures prevalent in this country. The largest ethnic group in Zimbabwe is the Shona. Zimbabwean culture is signified by its trade in carving, pottery, basketry, jewelry, and textiles and are some of the oldest preserved arts of Zimbabwe. These traditional arts are about 2000 years old. The unique craftsmanship of the basketry artform common to Zimbabwe is using a single piece of wood to symmetrically weave patterned stools and baskets. Sculpting into stones was also very popular among the Shona people. The modern sculptures are a fusion of European and traditional African practices. Since the 80's people have been very interested in Shona sculpture across the world. Zimbabwe's sculptors have received worldwide appreciation for their art.

The recurring theme occurring in these art forms is the metamorphosis of man to beast. The old drawings of the eight representations of birds in ancient Zimbabwe have also been repeatedly discovered. There have been many soapstone figures discovered which were finely carved in the Greater Zimbabwe period. These birds do not represent any real bird, but the old art has many figurines of that bird. Bird art was so popular that when Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980, the Republic of Zimbabwe had the image of this bird as a part of the national flag. The traditional ceremonies are also represented in the sculptures.

Pottery was also a very popular art form. Unglazed pottery was covered with graphite, and polished afterward. Traditional sculptors have gained worldwide recognition, and due to this, the new generation is considering sculpting as a preferable career path in modern Zimbabwe. Many youths are keen on learning sculpting and Zimbabwean culture through lengthy apprenticeships. Apart from the art which was popular in ancient Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe was also popular for its farming and mining industry as the present day. Zimbabwe has 16 official languages. Each language is a representation of the different ethnic groups living in Zimbabwe. The Shona language is the official language, as it was the last powerful remaining tribe until the colonial era happened in 1890. English is spoken in cities, but not much in rural areas. In education, English is made a compulsory language from grade three.

Safari parks, white water rafting, ziplining, river boarding, adventure jet boarding, bungee jumping, fishing, elephant encounters, horseback safaris, tram trips, sunset tours, a tour of Victoria Falls, historical bridge tour, crocodile farm visit, and rhino search drive are some of the most exciting things tourists and locals can do in Zimbabwe. There has been an increase in interest by the people of the world, to experience the nature and wildlife of Zimbabwe. It is one of the most popular countries in Africa, which is a 'must see' by tourists. There is no end to what one can experience, as it has everything an adventurist would want. At present, the wildlife and forests are not what they used to be. In Ancient Africa, Zimbabwe was known to host a lot of exotic animals and vast deep forests. Since it is situated in the south of Africa, it does not experience the extreme hot climate like the rest of its neighboring countries in the continent. There is an abundant amount of rainfall from November to March, which is only limited to some countries in Africa.

Facts About Zimbabwe's Religions

Christianity is the main religion of the Zimbabwe population. There are many cultural groups in Zimbabwe following their traditional beliefs.

According to statistics, there are three main religions of Zimbabwe. About 87.4% of the population are Christians. Among them 74% are Protestants, 7.3% are Catholics, the rest believe in different factions of Christianity. About 2.1% believe in Islam or their traditional religion. The remaining 10.1% are atheists, they do not believe in any religion. In the 14th century, Christianity was spread by Christian missionaries. There has been an increase in Evangelical Christian beliefs. They combine the traditional religion with Christianity. The Zion Christian church is one of the churches which combine traditional religion with Christianity. The followers wear a star badge made of metal. The badge is pinned on a green robe. They wear this robe on top of their everyday clothes. Vapostori is also such a church. Its followers are cultural groups who wear white robes and stand outside the church.

The traditional religion is of the Shona and Ndebele tribes in the population. They believe in one creator who created the whole universe. They also believe that their ancestor's spirits still roam among them. They guide them in their decisions and always look after their descendants. There are witch doctors, which are called 'Nyanga'. They can connect people with these deceased Chief spirits. This is a powerful medium. Sometimes people go to witch doctors, seeking guidance from ancestors, or if something goes wrong, they believe they have angered their ancestors. Their one god is also called 'uMlimu' in the Ndebele tribe. The god is called 'Mwari' by the Shona tribe. Some people think that they can connect to 'Mwari' or 'uMlimu' through these spirits. They call the spirits to pray. There are bad spirits, just like there are good spirits. Bad luck, drought, famine, death, and illness are said to be brought on about by these bad spirits. Every country in Africa has some traditional beliefs and gods to which they pray to this day.

Zimbabwe has a diversity of culture and religion, and is one of the diverse countries in Africa.

Facts About The Lifestyle Of Zimbabwe's People

The people of Zimbabwe are very warm and welcoming. The native language of Zimbabwe is Shona. It is one of the main dialects of ancient Zimbabwe.

Having seen the ups and downs in their economic life, especially during the 2008 recession, this did not lower their hospitality. Bantu people are the oldest living group of people in Zimbabwe. Then the Shona group invaded and settled after the Bantu tribe in the country. Ndebele and Shona are the two main clans of the Zimbabwe population. Strong regional culture is prevalent in Zimbabwe. There are five main traditional groups: the Korekore, the Zezuru, the Rozvi, the Ndau, and the Manyika. Cultural and linguistic similarities are the basis of these tribes. The Ndebele comprises the Kalanga and the Ndebele tribe and constitutes about 14% of the population. The Shangani/Shangane people, the Venda, and the Batonga/Balonka are the smaller ethnic groups residing in Zimbabwe. Some Asian people and white immigrants who resided in Zimbabwe during the colonial British era are now less than 1% of the population. Shona and English languages are widely used by the younger generation of people after the independence of Zimbabwe. The rural population prefers to use their regional languages.

After British rule, colonization left its imprint on the Zimbabwe population. The adoption of Christianity has mixed traditional and modern values in the kids. A strong cultural hierarchy is prevalent in the country. Elders are to be respected, they are believed to be wiser, have great knowledge, and are in all ways superior. In many families, the elders make all the important decisions. No one is said to oppose them. Whenever they talk with each other, they introduce themselves as the backbone and background of the region. Their regionality and linguistic abilities are identified by the Zimbabwe people. There is a totem in every family, which represents the lineage, identity, bloodline, and heritage. They believe their ancestors always look after them, and after they are dead, their spirits always follow them and bless them. They are a source of guidance for their descendants. Crucial to the identity of the Zimbabwean people is one's heritage. The younger generation does not believe in spirits, and the urban population mostly follows the Christian religion. Only the people in rural areas still follow the previous and historic traditions and beliefs. Commercial farms are a part of livelihood, alongside mining of about half of the Zimbabwean population. The urban areas are more focused on investing their labor in modern technologies.

Zimbabwe has a beautiful landscape. Natural wildlife and spectacular waterfalls make it one of the world natural heritage sites listed by UNESCO. The ruins of Great Zimbabwe are untouched since the colonial era. The walls made in The Great Zimbabwe were made without mortar. They were solely made of stone. Ruling parties of ancient Zimbabwe used to live about 2,000 years ago in the Great Zimbabwe area. Long stretches of savannah and an innumerable number of fish and birds are preserved and attract multitudes of tourists every year. Victoria Falls, which is present in Zimbabwe, is the largest waterfall in the world. The largest man-made lake in the world is lake Kariba in Zimbabwe.

Facts About Zimbabwe's Food

Mealie meal is the staple food of Zimbabwe.

Mealie meal is the traditional name of cornmeal. Bota which is prepared from cornmeal is eaten widely across Zimbabwe. The Bota is prepared by mixing cornmeal with water. Then the mixture is cooked until it becomes a porridge-like consistency. After it is cooked, peanut butter or plain butter is put on top of it to make it really flavourful. it is a breakfast staple. Cornmeal is also used in the preparation of sadza. It is made using the same process as bota, but the toppings are either meat or vegetables. Meat can be sundried, roasted, grilled, or stewed, and vegetables like spring onions, spinach, and chou moellier are served on the side with this dish. It is also eaten with a curdled milk called lacto, chicken, or boerewors. Sausages made of pork or beef are called boerewors. Sadza is usually eaten for lunch. Some people eat it for dinner too. The main meal will be rice and chicken, with some coleslaw salad. Family gatherings for occasions such as weddings, birthdays and graduations are celebrated on a large scale. A sheep, goat, or cow is slaughtered, and then the meat will be barbecued or braised for the entire family. The different culture and different ethnic groups have a different way of preparing food, with ingredients local to their region.

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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