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perjantai 24. kesäkuuta 2016

Zimbabwe, Cool Facts #122

<= 121. Zambia                                                                                                         123. Mauritius =>

The current flag of Zimbabwe was taken in use in 1980 when the country became independent. 


Green = agriculture and rural areas of Zimbabwe
Yellow = minerals of the country, predominantly gold
Red = struggle for independence
White triangle = peace
Red Star = socialism 
Zimbabwe Bird = the golden bird represents the statuette of a bird found at the ruins of Great Zimbabwe symbolizing the history of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Bird

2. Ancient Ruins of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is unusual in Africa because it has several ancient ruined cities built in a unique dry stone style. When David Livingstone and other Europeans arrived at the area in the 1800s they couldn't believe the stone buildings to be built by Africans.

List of the most famous ruins in Zimbabwe 

Great Zimbabwe 
Former capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, built by the ancestors of the Shona people. The largest ruins in southern Africa. The Kingdom of Zimbabwe was established in 1220 after the abandonment of Mapungubwe and lasted until 1450.

Khami Ruins
Former capital of the Kingdom of Butua ruled by the Torwa dynasty. The Kingdom of Butua was established in 1450 after the abandonment of Zimbabwe and lasted until c. 1683, when it was conquered by the Rozwi Empire.

Dhlo Dhlo or Danangombe 
One of the former centres of the Rozvi culture. The Rozwi Empire ruled from 1660 until 1866 in Zimbabwean areas. The site was destroyed in the 1830s when the Matabele arrived at the area.

The ruins are attributed to the Kalanga Torwa State.

List of Kingdoms in the territory of Zimbabwe

1075-1220 Kingdom of Mapungubwe
1220-1450 Kingdom of Zimbabwe
1430-1760 Kingdom of Mutapa
1450-1683 Kingdom of Butua
1660-1866 Rozwi Empire

Great Zimbabwe ruins

3. Gukurahundi

Gukurahundi means in Shona language "the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains". This was an event in Zimbabwe between 1983-1987, in which the national army's Fifth Brigade suspected anti-government Ndebele people and eliminated them, especially in Matabeleland. Large groups of Ndebele people were massacred during the Gukurahundi. The death toll estamations are between 1200-30,000. Presidet Mugabe has been accused to have orchestrated the operation.

ZANU and ZAPU under Nkomo and Mugabe fought against the white government of Rhodesia. ZANU recruited people mainly from Shona areas and ZAPU from Ndebele areas. These two groups had had hostilities against each other since Mzilikazi arrived at Shona territories with his Ndebele followers carving out a territory for himself. This humiliation was not forgotten by the Shona. When Zimbabwe became independent in 1980 it was impossible to integrate these two groups into the National Army.

End of the conflict
In 1987 ZANU's Joshua Nkomo signed the Unity Accord with president Robert Mugabe, who represented ZAPU. After the treaty ZANU was dissolved into ZAPU becoming ZAPU-PF.

They made us sing: Part of exhibition by Owen Maseko about Gukurahundi

4. Fast track land reform 

In the year 2000 there was a referendum on the new constitution, which would have allowed the government to acquire land compulsorily without compensation. The constitution was defeated 55% to 45% but few days later the pro-Mugabe War Veterans Association organized several people to march on white-owned farms with drums, singing and dancing. This movement got the name "Fast-Track Land Reform Program" FTLRP. The predominantly white farmers were forced out of their farms, often violently and without compensation.

The land reform caused a tremendous drop in the production. Zimbabwe was before called as the bread basket of Africa but after the land reform it struggled feeding its own population. It caused even famines but recently the production from the small plots of ordinary black farmers have increased. The production levels were in 2012 still lower than before the reform but now the profits are much more widely distributed.

In 2011 there were still around 300 white farmers as there were 5000 when Zimbabwe gained independence and these farmers owned 50% of the land suitable for agriculture.

5. Diamonds and Platinum of Zimbabwe

Gold find in Mashonaland in the late 1800s awakened the interest of the Europeans in the first place towards present-day Zimbabwe. Matabele's king Lobengula gave the right to use the land to Cecil Rhodes, the Prime Minister of Cape Colony and founder of the British South Africa Company. Zimbabwe was then named after Cecil Rhodes as Southern Rhodesia in the late 1800s.

Facts about Zimbabwe's natural reserves:

- 3rd largest platinum producer in the world (2014)
- Marange diamond fields, which were discovered in 2006 are considered as the biggest diamond discovery in over a century
- Marange field was estimated to have produced diamonds worth over 350 million dollars
- Despite all the diamond and gold reserves, the revenues have disappeared into the pockets of army officers and ZANU-PF officers

A mine in Zimbabwe


900s Shona states started emerging and trade with Arab merchants developed
1000s Kingdom of Mapungubwe emerged lasting until the 1200s
1300-1600s The Mapungubwe was eclipsed by the Kingdom of Zimbabwe
1450-1760 Zimbabwe gave way to the Kingdom of Maputa, ruling much of the present-day Zimbabwe and parts of Mozambique
1660 Rozwi Empire emerged and expelled the Portuguese from the area
1821 Zulu general Mzilikazi rebelled against King Shaka creating his own clan, the Ndebele
1838 The Rozwi Empire and other Shona states were conquered by the Ndebele
1840 The Ndebele settled to Matabeleland after losing their remaining areas in South Africa to the Boers
1867 Gold find in Mashonaland awaked the European interests to the area
1888 Matabele's king Lobengula gave access to the land to Cecil Rhodes' British South Africa Company
1889 BSAC got the royal charter to colonize Matabeleland and its subject states like Mashonaland
1893-1894 King Lobengula started the First Matabele War
1895 The territory was named Rhodesia in honor of Rhodes and in 1898 the region south of Zambezi became Southern Rhodesia 
1896-1897 Shaman Mlimon started the Second Matabele War, which was also lost to Rhodes' troops
1923 Southern Rhodesia is controlled by Great Britain instead of the British South Africa Company
1953 Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland were merged into the Federation of Nyasaland and Rhodesia
1963 The Federation was dissolved
1965 Prime Minister Ian Smith's government declared the country independent as Rhodesia, Great Britain didn't accept this and Rhodesia the UN imposed the first mandatory trade embargo on an autonomous state in 1966
1970 Smith declared Zimbabwe a republic
1970s Robert Mugabe's ZANU and Joshua Nkomon's ZAPU initiated guerrilla operations against Rhodesia's predominantly white government
1979 Black Bishop Abel Muzoreva became the Prime Minister and the country changed its name to Zimbabwe Rhodesia
1980 Robert Mugabe became the president and Canaan Banana the president of the country, which got independence, unrests erupted around Matabeleland in the beginning of the independence because of the internal fightings against Mugabe and Nkomo
1987 The five-year "Gukurahundi" campaign ends as Nkomo and Mugabe reached an agreement after which their parties ZANU and ZAPU merged into ZANU-PF
1990s Strikes against Mugabe and ZANU-PF policies
2000 The government started redistributing the land from white farmers to the black people
2005 Operation Murambatsvina to crack down the illegal markets and slums emerging in towns and cities
2008 After the elections Mugabe continued as the president and MDC's Tsvangirai became the Prime Minister
2009 Zimbabwe used 50 and 100 billion dollar bills during hyperinflation before abandoning its own currency
2013 Mugabe was re-elected as president and the MDC alleged massive fraud

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