Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Zimbabwe: A Profile

Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Zimbabwe: A Profile

Article excerpt

The name Zimbabwe is derived from the Shona phrase, dzimba dzemabwe, meaning houses of stone or stone buildings which are symbolized by the Great Zimbabwe ruins near the present day town of Masvingo.

Zimbabwe is landlocked and situated in southern Africa with a total land area of 390,757 square kilometres. Zimbabwe is bordered by Mozambique to the east, South Africa to the south, Botswana to the west, and Zambia to the north and northwest. The country is divided into 10 administrative provinces and 62 districts. The capital city is Harare and other major cities include Bulawayo, Gweru, Kadoma, Kwekwe, Masvingo and Mutare.

Zimbabwe is home to several UNESCO Natural World Heritage sites such as: (1) the Mana Pools National Park which has over 350 bird species and aquatic wildlife, and wide range of large mammals. The name "Mana'' means "four" in the local Shona language which also applies to the four large pools inland from the Zambezi River that are the remnant ox-bow lakes that the Zambezi River carved out thousands of years ago as it changed its course; (2) the Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders) waterfall, also known as Victoria Falls on the Zambezi river); the Great Zimbabwe ruins (the largest collection of ruins in Africa south of the Sahara) located in the heart of southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, they are testament to a culture of great wealth and great architectural skill, built between the 11th and 15th centuries as home to a cattle-herding people who also became adept at metal-working; and (3), the ruined city of Khami (Khame, Kame or Kami) near Bulawayo, the former capital of the Kindom of Butua of the Torwa dynasty for about 200 years from about 1450.

The population of Zimbabwe is estimated to be 13.061 million (2012 Census) with 52% being female. Two thirds of the population is below the age of 25. The major ethnic groups are Shona and Ndebele.

Economy

Zimbabwe's economy experienced severe challenges over the past decade, reaching crisis proportions in 2007 and 2008. …

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