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
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.
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
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
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.
Sadza, 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.