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Zimbabwe Culture and Traditions

Customs and traditions

Many customs and customs vary between Zimbabwe's different ethnic groups, but some cultural and religious traditions are common. This applies, for example, to the belief in spirits and their supernatural powers.

A large proportion of Zimbabweans believe in witchcraft and use mediums to appease evil spirits or get help with various problems. In 2006 came a law that criminalizes all kinds of rituals that can be associated with witchcraft. Witch hunting is also prohibited.

  • Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Zimbabwe, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.

Shaking hands is the most common way of health. Titles are not normally used, except in certain contexts in big cities where one is more influenced by British culture.

Spontaneous visits are common, especially in smaller villages. Small gifts are appreciated both in the countryside and in the cities, but that is not expected. Traditionally, you give and receive gifts with both hands. Direct eye contact is perceived as unfavorable and interpreted as a lack of respect, especially in rural areas.

Overall, Zimbabweans dress western but more and more are also being influenced by other African countries. Traditional costumes are only used on special occasions. Many women wear a wrap around their heads.

Culture and Traditions of ZimbabweSadza, a thick porridge made from cornmeal, is the staple food of most Zimbabwean homes. It is served to virtually all meals and eaten together with meat, dried fish or a sauce made on spinach-like green leaves. In the countryside, most people have a kitchen garden where they grow their vegetables. At feasts, you often offer grilled or stewed meat when slaughtering an ox, cow or goat. The women brew beer made on millet. Tea, which is introduced by the English, is often used for everyday and workplaces.

Many people use Western cutlery but in the countryside it is most common to eat with their hands. As a guest you are often offered a bowl of water to wash your hands in. It is considered insulting to refuse food and drink.

One of the most important holidays is Independence Day on April 18, celebrating the country's independence in 1980 with music and festivities throughout the country. On varying days in August, the Heroes' Day is celebrated, in memory of those who died in the struggle for independence, and the Armed Forces Day. National Unity Day in December draws attention to nation-building after independence. Africa Day on May 25 is also a holiday, as is New Year's Day and May 1. Otherwise, the Christian calendar is followed by Easter and Christmas.

2011

November

Diamond ban is lifted

Diamond industry control body The Kimberley Process is lifting its ban on diamond trading from certain mines in the Marange district of eastern Zimbabwe. The ban was issued in 2009 after information emerged that indicated that some mines in Marange were controlled by the military that passed diamond income on to Zanu-PF. The EU and the US approve the decision, but the US announces that the country will continue to block imports of Zimbabwe diamonds as part of the sanctions against Mugabe.

July

Trial against seminar participants

Six political activists, including a university teacher, are facing trial for treason charges for attending a seminar in February on the uprising in Egypt. Because the question "What can we learn?" was filed in the seminar, the prosecutor claims that the defendants planned a similar revolt. Betrayal is punished with death in Zimbabwe. The defendants deny the charges.

June

Choice advanced

President Mugabe admits that the election could probably only be held in 2012, despite having previously insisted that it be held during the current year. Both Tsvangirai and the cooperation organization SADC (see Foreign Policy and Defense) have advocated a postponed election.

Attacks on finance minister

Finance Minister Biti survives an assassination aimed at his home. Biti, who is considered number two in MDC-T's leadership, has been subjected to harsh criticism from Mugabe the days before, accusing him of holding back pay raises to public servants, as promised by the president. According to Biti, there is not enough money to raise wages.

April

New report on land ownership

According to a report in the Daily News magazine, Mugabe and his allies have served the land reform big land reform (see J word farming and fishing). Mugabe himself is reported to own at least 13 farms. In total, a new elite within ZanuU-PF owns at least a third of the land seized. Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who belongs to the MDC-T, states that Zimbabwe does not have enough money in the Treasury to hold the election that President Mugabe wants to announce.

Nationalization is criticized

Tsvangirai saw Mugabe's plans to nationalize parts of foreign companies (see March 2010). According to Tsvangirai, it is a "looting" that will only enrich a small elite in the country. The nationalization plan concerns not least companies in the important mining industry, which will be forced to surrender 51 percent of ownership of Zimbabwean control by September 2011.

March

Penalties are extended

The United States is also extending its sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Government critics arrested

Hundreds of government critics and MDC-T supporters are reported to have been arrested in recent months. Many have been abused, in increased state-sanctioned violence, ahead of the elections which, according to unspecified plans, will be held in June. Energy Minister Elton Mangoma is among those arrested, accused of corruption. The arrest causes Tsvangirai to advocate "divorce", that is, an end to the unity government.

President re-elected

Parliament elects Moyo as President (see August 2008), a setback for President Mugabe. Moyo had been deposed due to a technicality three weeks earlier. According to the MDC-T, several of the party's MPs have been arrested and others have been subjected to bribery attempts since then, in an attempt to undermine the party's majority before the election of a new president.

February

Many arrested for treason

About 50 people are arrested for attending a lecture on the uprising in North Africa, suspected of treason. The majority are soon released as the court does not believe the allegations are about plans to overthrow Mugabe. However, suspicions remain against six people.

Sanctions are relaxed

The EU decides to ease sanctions on Zimbabwe by removing 35 people from the list of Mugabe supporters whose assets are frozen. The reason is that the unifying government is considered to have made progress in trying to deal with the economic crisis. Remaining on the list are 163 people and 31 companies. The sanctions mean that people's assets in EU countries are frozen. Nor are they allowed to visit the EU.

January

New party leader

At a party congress, Arthur Mutambara is succeeded by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube as party leader of MDC-M, which is then called MDC-N.


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