48 Interesting Facts About Zimbabwe

Last updated on May 15th, 2023

Zimbabwe, officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in southern Africa. It is located between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It has an area of 390,757 square km. Its capital and largest city is Harare. Its official currency is the United States dollar. Its five bordering countries are Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, and Namibia. The country has 16 official languages: Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, “Koisan” (presumably Tsoa), Nambya, Ndau, IsiNdebele, Shangani, Shona, “sign language” (Zimbabwean sign languages), SeSotho, Tonga, Tswana, TshiVenda, IsiXhosa.

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 former president – Robert Gabriel Mugabe – is one of the oldest and also the longest-serving leaders of a non-royal country in the world. He has served as the leader of Zimbabwe for the past 36 years. 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 and resigned from the office on 21st November 2017. He was born on 21 February 1924. Robert Gabriel Mugabe is succeeded by Emmerson Mnangagwa (born 15 September 1942) who assumed office on 24 November 2017.

3. Zimbabwe abandoned its currency and is 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, 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 has won a total of eight medals at the Olympic Games in two sports – hockey (1) and swimming (7).  At the 2004 Summer Olympics, in Athens, Greece, Coventry won three Olympic medals: a gold, a silver, and a bronze, while in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing she won four medals: a gold and three silver. A gold medal was won by the women’s national field hockey team in 1980.

6. Zimbabwe is a landlocked plateau country.

Zimbabwe on the map

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.

Read: facts about Zimbabwean culture

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

Flag of Zimbabwe

Flag of Zimbabwe
Flag of Zimbabwe. Image in public domain

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 one of the lowest life expectancies in the world. Females can expect to live 65.52 years and males survive for 61.18 years, on average (est. 2022.)

16. As per data (UNICEF, 2015), 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.’

Read: facts about Victoria Falls, hunger in Zimbabwe

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 a 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 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.

. . . continue reading on the next page.