The Culture Of Zimbabwe

Stone statues are some of the famous handicrafts of Zimbabwe.
Stone statues are some of the famous handicrafts of Zimbabwe.

The landlocked southern African nation of Zimbabwe hosts a population of 14,030,368 individuals. The country has a rich tradition and culture that reflects the ethnic diversity of its population.

7. Ethnicity, Language, and Religion of Zimbabwe

The Shona and the Ndebele are the largest ethnic groups residing in the country. English, Shona, and Ndebele are the official languages of Zimbabwe. Around 13 minority languages have also been given the official status. Most Zimbabweans adhere to Christianity with the majority being Protestant Christians.

6. Cuisine of Zimbabwe

Cornmeal is a staple of the Zimbabwean diet. It is used to make the porridge-like bota which is flavored with peanut butter or butter and had for breakfast. Sadza is also prepared from cornmeal and consumed for lunch or dinner. It is also similar to bota but thicker. Sadza is served with vegetables, meat, and beans. Meat can be stewed, roasted, grilled, or sundried. Boerewors, a type of pork or beef sausage, is eaten frequently. Chicken and rice meals are also widely consumed. Braaied (barbecued) meat is popular during celebrations. The influence of the British colonization can still be observed in the culinary habits of the Zimbabweans. They have tea at midday and the 4 o'clock tea as well. Occasionally, they also have tea after dinner.

5. Clothing in Zimbabwe

Today, most Zimbabweans wear modern, western-style clothing. Traditional clothes are worn on a daily-basis by only a small section of the population. Such dresses vary between ethnic groups. Usually, the dresses have bright colors and tribal patterns. Elaborate tribal headgears are often worn. Bright and showy beaded ornaments also accompany such dresses.

4. Literature and the Arts in Zimbabwe

Although Zimbabwe has a rich and age-old heritage of oral literature, written literary works were absent for most of the country’s ancient history. It only developed after colonization of the land by the Europeans and the spread of the modern form of education in the country. The oral literature comprised of folk tales and legends, war stories and poems, heroic epics, historical accounts, etc. Many of the early writers of Zimbabwe made great efforts to produce the oral literature in the published form to preserve the country’s history and culture for the future generations. Today, Zimbabwean writers and poets explore various literary genres and produce publications that are often praised internationally.

Traditional crafts in Zimbabwe include basketry, carving, jewelry, pottery, etc. Stools carved from a single piece of wood and woven baskets with symmetrical patterns are among the most famous handicrafts of the country. The sculptures made by the Shona people have earned worldwide fame. These sculptures are made of soapstone or other harder igneous rocks.

3. Performance Arts in Zimbabwe

The music scene of Zimbabwe is rich and varied. It ranges from folk music to pop and rock. Music has played a very significant role in the history of the country. Some of the traditional instruments used to produce the folk music of the country include hosho, ngoma drums, and mbira. Music has always been an integral part of the religious rites of the Zimbabweans and often used to call on ancestral spirits. Music also played an important role in portraying the people’s desire for freedom from colonial rule. Zimbabwean jazz, sungura, Tuku music, Chimurenga music, etc., are some of the most popular musical genres in Zimbabwe.

2. Sports in Zimbabwe

Football is the most popular sport in the country. It is played both professionally and informally in the cities and villages throughout the nation. The national football team of Zimbabwe has won several international championships like the Southern Africa championship. Rugby and cricket are also popular sports played in Zimbabwe. The national rugby and cricket teams are quite successful. Other games played in the country include volleyball, netball, water polo, chess, cycling, squash, swimming, horse racing, kayaking, etc.

1. Life in the Zimbabwean Society

Although the Constitution of the country grants equal rights to both men and women, gender-based discrimination in the country is not uncommon. There are complaints that the law of the country is often more in favor of men than women, especially in areas of inheritance, marriage, and the conditions of part-time work. Although a significant section of the women in urban areas receive education and enter the workforce, those in rural areas are still confined to the traditional roles. Although both men and women take part in agricultural activities in the villages, women are also expected to perform the household chores and take care of the children. In urban areas, a significant percentage of women participate in the workforce. However, men predominate in the political and administrative fields.

Marriages in Zimbabwe are based on both individual choice and family arrangements. However, the former is growing in popularity. Polygamous marriages are not uncommon but are gradually decreasing in number due to the higher costs of maintaining more wives and children. Most ethnic groups are associated with patrilocal residence where the bride moves in with the husband’s family. Matrilocal residence can be seen in the case of the Tonga people. In urban areas, nuclear families are more common. Brideprice is usually paid by the groom to the bride’s family in exchange of their daughter. Divorces are not encouraged and often viewed as a stigma, especially for women.

Households vary in size from extended in rural areas to nuclear in the urban areas. In polygynous families, each wife lives with her children in a small dwelling within a large compound owned by the husband. Men usually rule the household. The eldest person in the family is also highly respected and his or her words are regarded as wise. A woman gathers respect as she ages and through her children. Inheritance is patrilineal in most cases and the property passes from the father to the sons.

Children are the primary responsibility of the mother. Other female relatives including older sisters also participate in childcare. Since children in the large Zimbabwean households are rarely alone, they learn social values, customs, and rituals from their family and community members from an early age. Gender-based tasks are taught to the girls and boys from the age of about seven or eight.

Education is valued but quality education is more easily accessible in urban than in rural areas. Also, fewer girls than boys receive the opportunity to complete school.


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