48 Interesting Facts about Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a South African country located between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. The country has 16 official languages.

Here are 48 interesting facts about Zimbabwe, its history, people, Victoria Falls and much more…

1. The first people of the country were the Bantu-speaking Iron Age farmers that settled in the region around AD 300.

2. Zimbabwe’s President – Robert Gabriel Mugabe – is one of the current oldest and also the longest serving leaders of a non-royal country in the world. He has served as the leader of this country for the past 36 years and is still in service to the nation. He served as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987, and then assumed office as the President of Zimbabwe on 22 December 1987. He was born on 21 February 1924.

3. Most countries in the world have their own currency unless they are still under the rule of another country. But Zimbabwe is among the few countries in the world that abandoned their currency and are currently using others’. This happened after the massive inflation that hit the country in 2008. The country abandoned its currency and has been using the U.S. Dollar, the South African Rand, the Sterling Pound, and the Botswana Pula since April 12 2009.

4. It is illegal in Zimbabwe for the police to impound your vehicle on the road. The only occasion when they can do so is when they ask you to produce your driver’s license.

5. Zimbabwe only won three medals in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games. This might not be news to you, but what makes this interesting is the fact that all these medals were won by one athlete named Kirsty Coventry.

6. Zimbabwe is a landlocked plateau country.

Interesting facts about Zimbabwe: zimbabwe map
Interesting facts about Zimbabwe: Landlocked Zimbabwe

7. The name of the country was derived from the fortified trading hub, Great Zimbabwe, which was built in medieval times and was used by the people of the ‘Shona’ tribe. The people of this tribe constitute about 70% of the country’s current population.

8. Zimbabwe was once a very rich country.

9. Can you imagine carrying a wheelbarrow load of money to the store only to buy something that only costs one dollar in other countries? Well, in 2008, Zimbabwe experienced a whopping 231 million percent inflation.

10. The country has one of the world’s highest inflation and unemployment rates.

11. Manufacturing, mining and farming constitute the backbone of the Zimbabwean economy.

12. Zimbabwe became independent from the United Kingdom on April 18, 1980. They celebrate their national day on this day to commemorate their independence.

13. Zimbabweans mostly call every kind of toothpaste “Colgate,” every soft drink “Coke,” every washing powder “Surf” and every floor polish “Cobra.”

14. For most people, power shortages and blackouts are a strange occurrence, and when it happens, power is restored in a very short time. But in Zimbabwe, blackouts are quite frequent and random, and when they occur, they can last for up to 3 hours or even more.

15. Zimbabwe has the lowest life expectancy in the world. Females can expect to live 34 years and males survive for 37 years, on average.

16. As per data (UNICEF, 2012), more than 1.4 million people in the country are living with AIDS.

17. The ‘mbira’, which is a small hand-held instrument, has been played for more than 1,000 years in Zimbabwe. This instrument is also commonly referred to as a ‘thumb piano.’

18. Mwari is the name of the deity of the Shona tribes people in Zimbabwe. They have been believing in this deity for centuries.

19. Zimbabwe is suffering from shortage of health care professionals. Many of the country’s health care professionals left Zimbabwe in search of better opportunities elsewhere in the world. Spiritual healing advice is still used by many people for minor and major ailments. HIV/AIDS is prevalent in the country, and has been cited as the cause of death of thousands of people in the last few years.

20. We have all heard about mermaids and most of us believe that they are a myth and just characters in children animations and stories. But in Zimbabwe, there is a strong belief that mermaids exist. In fact, these mythical creatures are often blamed for unfortunate events such as kidnapping, torture, and murder.

21. Cholera and malaria are two major diseases in the country. Malaria is prevalent in low-lying border areas. More than 760,000 cases of malaria were reported by WHO in 2009, while one third of its minor population suffers from chronic malnutrition.

22. As most men in the world try to shade their large tummies for flat ones, the opposite is true in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans see pot bellies in men as a sign of success and wealth. 

23. Imagine being isolated and stigmatized by your local community just because you divorced with your spouse. In Zimbabwe, divorce is a stigma. This does not mean that it is illegal in the country to divorce. However, it is only women who are allowed to get divorced, though it is very rare.

24. In terms of the land area Zimbabwe covers, it is three times the size of England.

Click here to sponsor a child in Zimbabwe today. They need our help to fight hunger and get educated.

14 COMMENTS

  1. A bunch of these “facts” are opinions to be direct. Being a Zimbabwean and living in Zimbabwe this information is largely outdated, inaccurate and overall misleading. E.g this is mistaken “Zimbabweans see big stomach in men as a sign of wealth. This indicates that the person is financially sound to eat meat daily”. I suggest the editors look into redoing a proper fact file with verified information.

    • Sure, we will look into the details and correct them if found false. thanks a lot for stopping by and making an important comment. 🙂

  2. Arthur, we have gone through the facts mentioned here and they all have been verified. For your kind reference, we have also provided a list of the sources used for compiling the factfile. Thanks!

  3. Comment:
    Some facts are true,some are surprising, some are slightly off, some are fact of opinion.
    also take note.
    1.Kariba is a Dam not a river.
    2.the literacy rate is now over 90% and is currently the highest in africa.
    3.religion also includes adventism & islam. by general observation the country with the highest adoption of Christianity, with fewer to no athiests and a low number of muslim.
    4.has four major cities Harare, Bulawayo,Gweru,Mutare and Masvingo in that order.
    5.Contray to most but not all Westerners, Zimbabweans dont hate “white” people they hate anyone with hypocrisy,supriority tendencies, injustice, violence, racists and manipulation. the cases that involve violence against “white” people were conduct by a few extremists,hence violence against foriegners is not a common thing.(infact i challenge you do do your own survey now).
    6. Dispite the obvious existence of murderous criminals and ritualists , most common Zimbabweans believe in total absolute peace and have a high regard for life.
    7. Dispite bieng highly literate most Zimbabweans prefer humility over pomp.
    8. Zimbabwe’s high adoption of education and intolerance to radical religion, has led us to accept dissability, albenism and quick action towards killer diseases.
    9. Zimbabweans are literate enough to know or find out whats going on in the global village, since technology is reaching most parts of the still developing realms.
    10. The best way to get first hand information about Zimbabwe is to visit the country especially now. So i hope those are first hand facts.

    • Thank you Wezhira. Please check our other Country fact files on the website as well. There is a lot of interesting information to read. 🙂

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