My Country, My Pride, My Zimbabwe!
A second theory is that Zimbabwe is a contracted form of "dzimba woye" which means "venerated houses," a term usually reserved for chiefs' houses or graves.
Few understand the true beauties of Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of Southern Africa. I was lucky enough to be born there. The landscape, from Lake Kariba to Victoria Falls, the eastern highlands to the lowveld savanna. The elephants of Gonarezhou, the hippos in Mana Pools and the lions that haunt the night at Hwange. Energetic, diligent people, hospitable and generous, a people of character, built on the everyday struggle to survive. A place like no other.
The Green represents country's vegetation and land resources, the argricultural sector.
Corn, cotton, wheat, coffee, tea, sugarcane, tobacco, peanuts, forestry, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and dairy.
The Yellow represents the country's mineral wealth.
Coal, chromium ore, asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin and platinum group metals.
The Red represents the blood spilt during the armed liberation struggle.
The 'bush war' was fought for almost 15 years. Ian Smith's Rhodesian government fought liberation groups ZANU, under Robert Mugabe, and ZAPU, under Joshua Nkomo.
The Black represents the black majority.
The 'shona' people derived from Bantu speaking people who formed the Munhumutapa Empire which covered the Zimbabwe-Mozambique area in the 15th century. The 'ndebele' people are of the Nguni tribes in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Mzilikazi, a Zulu general under Chaka Zulu defected and fled, then attacked and defeated the Nguni and moved north and started GuBulawayo.
The Zimbabwe Bird is the National Emblem of Zimbabwe.
The White Triangle represents peace and honesty.
The Red Star stands for internationalism and reflects the ruling party's socialist credentials.
Zimbabwe African National Union was a party founded by Ndabaningi Sithole, a Methodist minister and Herbert Chitepo, a prominent Barrister in the 1960's as a nationalist movement seeking independence and freedom for the indigenous people of Southern Rhodesia. Robert Mugabe joined them in 1963. ZANU was influenced by the Africanist ideas of the Pan Africanist Congress in South Africa and influenced by Maoism (Mao Tse-tung). It challenged, and finally defeated the colonial governmental system which was based on racism, minority rule, and totally undemocratic.
On 18 March 1975 Herbert Chitepo was assassinated in Lusaka and Mugabe was nominated to lead ZANU. Later that year there was a factional split along tribal lines, and the Ndebele followed Sithole into the moderate Zanu (Ndonga) party, who renounced violent struggle, while the Shona followed Mugabe with a more militant agenda.
In the process of mobilisation, ZANU sought to unite the people into one nation. In 1976 it formed an alliance between the two Parties that were fighting for independence, ZAPU and ZANU, and called it The Patriotic Front. Three years later in 1979 when the British Government convened the Lancaster House conference to draw up a new constitution for Zimbabwe, the Patriotic Front emerged as the authentic voice of the Zimbabwean people.
Mugabe won the 1980 elections. In 1988 after 8 years of low-level civil war termed Gukurahundi, the opposition Zimbabwe African People's Union, (ZAPU), led by Joshua Nkomo, merged with ZANU to form ZANU-PF with the added moniker of Patriotic Front, in what was seen as a step towards a one party state.
Stretching over 4km, most of the people at Great Zimbabwe lived outside the perimeter walls. The king lived on a hill in a series of ritual and royal enclosures called the Hill Complex. This was the first set of structures to be completed, therefore the oldest. The Valley Enclosures, where lesser officials would have lived, is a series of walls and platforms, and containing a high conical tower.
The Great Enclosure, thought to have housed the royal family, is the structure most identified with the site. It is 100m across and 255m in circumference and had mortar-less walls rising 11m and in some places, they are 5m thick. Another Conical Tower rises 10m and connects to a 70m long Parallel Passage. This passage is considered the most architecturally advanced structure in Great Zimbabwe with stone tapering to adding stability to the wall. It also includes three rings of decorative chevron patterns.
The entire complex covers almost 1,800 acres. Great Zimbabwe, as well as being a religious center, was also a great trade center and items from China, Persia and India have been found there. Herds of cattle were also kept at Great Zimbabwe and further illustrate the wealth accumulated over the years.
In the end, Great Zimbabwe's success was probably its downfall. By the 15th century, too many people and animals had depleted the natural resources. By the 16th century, Great Zimbabwe was deserted. Nobody knows for sure why the site was eventually abandoned. Perhaps it was due to drought, perhaps due to disease or it simply could be that the decline in the gold trade forced the people who inhabited Great Zimbabwe to look for greener pastures.
It was the mighty Zambezi which led missionary Dr. David Livingstone on his greatest and final adventure. In search of a means to access the interior, Livingstone tagged the Zambezi "God's highway" to the Indian Ocean and set off down the river. That year, 1855, he stood on an island in the middle of the Zambezi and stared in wonder at this creation of nature.
He wrote of the falls "No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight".
The falls are formed as the Zambezi plummets into a narrow chasm about 120 m (400 ft) wide, carved by its waters along a fracture zone in the earth's crust. Numerous islets at the crest of the falls divide the water to form a series of falls. The Falls are divided into five separate waterfalls: Devil's Cataract, Main Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow Falls and Eastern Cataract. Over the centuries, the falls have been receding upstream, falling at different eras into numerous chasms which now form a series of sharply zig-zagging gorges downstream from the falls.
The falls are extremely broad at about 1.7 km across, and the height of the cascade varies from 80m at the right bank to 105 m in the centre - about twice the height of Niagara Falls. The falling water generates spray and mist that can rise to heights of over a mile (1.6 km), and is visible from up to 40 km (25 miles) away.
Just below the boiling pot, and almost at right angles to the falls, the gorge is spanned by a bridge, one of only five over the Zambezi river, which was completed in April 1905 and was initially intended as a link in Cecil Rhodes’ Cape-Cairo railway scheme. The bridge is 250 metres across and the top of the bridge is 125 metres above the low-water level of the river. Today, regular rail services connect the towns of Victoria Falls and Livingstone with Bulawayo in Zimbabwe via the bridge, with another line running from Livingstone to Lusaka in Zambia.
This bridge is also used as a structure from which thousands have now experienced bunjee jumping. The ‘white waters’ that push and shove their way through the gorges that follow the falls have become one of the most exciting venues for white water rafting in the world.
The Baobab tree is a strange looking tree that grows in low-lying areas in Africa and Australia. In Zimbabwe they are found throughout the south-east lowveld, south-west lowveld and the Zambezi valley, from Victoria Falls to Cabora Bassa. It can grow to enormous sizes and carbon dating indicates that they may live to be 3,000 years old. The baobab can store more than 120,000 litres of water. One ancient hollow Baobab tree in Zimbabwe is so large that up to 40 people can shelter inside its trunk. Various Baobabs have been used as a shop, a prison, a house, a storage barn and a bus shelter.
When bare of leaves, the spreading branches of the Baobab look like roots sticking up into the air, rather as if it had been planted upside-down, another of its affectionate names. The African bushman has a legend that tells of the God Thora. He took a dislike to the baobab growing in his garden, so he threw it out over the wall of paradise on to earth below, and although the tree landed upside-down it continued to grow.
The tree is certainly very different from any other. The trunk is smooth and shiny, not at all like the bark of other trees, and it is pinkish grey or sometimes copper coloured. The Baobab tree has large whitish flowers which open at night. The fruit, which grows up to a foot long, contains tartaric acid and vitamin C and can either be sucked, or soaked in water to make a refreshing drink. They can also be roasted and ground up to make a coffee-like drink. The bark is pounded to make rope, mats, baskets, paper and cloth; the leaves can be boiled and eaten, and glue can be made from the pollen.
Baobabs are very difficult to kill, they can be burnt, or stripped of their bark, and they will just form new bark and carry on growing. When they do die, they simply rot from the inside and suddenly collapse, leaving a heap of fibres, which makes many people think that they don't die at all, but simply disappear.
A young plant looks very different from its adult form and this is why the Bushmen believe that it doesn't grow like other trees, but suddenly crashes to the ground with a thump, fully grown, and then one day simply disappears.