Culture of Zimbabwe
Culture of Zimbabwe


In the southern region of Africa lies a small country that sets between many larger countries. It also has a diverse culture and an uprising in the need for education. They believe education and teamwork is their key to success for the future. This country is Zimbabwe.

Their language is English. It isn’t predominate in rural areas. Shona and Ndebele are other languages spoke. Many Zimbabweans mix languages, as dialects.

Most people of Zimbabwe have a mixed belief structure, although Christianity is predominate. Many practices and beliefs are: spiritual doctors, witches, witchcraft, ancestor veneration, and they also practice their religion with the use of totems. Church service is high. 1% of people are Muslims. Roman Catholic is the largest religion.

Kurova Guva is a celebration held a year after a death of someone. This is done by the Shona. If forgotten bad luck can come.

The people of Zimbabwe are known to be friendly, cheerful, and courteous. Most are very friendly when seeing friends on the street, but with strangers it is the complete opposite; very cautious. It is impolite to embarrass someone in public. Family relations are very important. Blacks and white are usually at peace, but once in awhile the blacks are resentful because of inequalities. Zimbabweans tend to spend money quickly and not look towards future needs. They call this “living for today.”

The appearance of wealth is highly valued. Not to be wealthy, but to look wealthy. A big stomach is admired in a man because it shows he can afford to eat meat, daily. People wash daily, even in rural areas. Ironing clothes is important. For tumba flies can get onto wet clothes and lay eggs on them. The eggs could hatch and the newborn flies can burrow into the skin. Ironing helps to stop this.

Men wear suits for business-like meetings or jobs. Otherwise they prefer to just wear a shirt and slacks. Women are more accustomed to wearing dresses below the knees or a wrap around skirt with a blouse. At a special get together they might wear a dhuku, or a head scarf.

When meeting most people shake hands or say a normal greeting. Elders are to be respected. Gestures are a little different than in the states. Items are passed and received with two hands. Women add a curtsy. When people talk women usually sit on mats; men sit on higher platforms or a chair. To make eye contact with an elder is considered rude. Public affection is very rude, but friends of the same sex may hold hands.

In villages when other Zimbabweans come to visit they, a lot of the time, come uninvited. Usually bringing some sort of gift for the host. The host will also give a gift to a visitor. If food and refreshments are refuse, it’s impolite. Guests coming over for tea in the afternoon or for dinner is popular.

Breakfast is eaten before going to school or work. Lunch is usually the lightest meal. Dinner is in the evening and is the main meal.

Urban people use utensils and rural people use fingers of their right hand. Everyone washes hands before meal with a wash basin that is passed around before and after meals. Drinks aren’t given out until after all food is gone. Kids serve water to the adults. Sometimes kids sit at separate tables than adults. When there are guests they get meat. Chicken is the country’s favorite meat, but is very expensive.

Permission has to be asked to leave the table. Rural families cook over a fire while some have propane stoves.

The Zimbabwean diet consists of a stiff porridge made from white cornmeal. This is called sadza. It’s served at every meal. The sadza is rolled into a ball and dipped into relish. Vegetables commonly eaten are kale, spinach, pumpkin. Their protein comes from insects, mainly termites, and fish. A “Western Diet” consists of meat, potatoes, and rice instead of sadza. Tea is popular.

Fathers are the leaders of the family. They make all decisions and support the family. The mother influences, cares for kids and the house. More and more are selling goods at roadsides. Relatives expect to get money from other relatives during bad times and are expected to share at prosperous times. Urban families are usually not extended and more nuclear. Rural families are much more extended. Elderly people are treated with respect and are considered a family treasure.

Generations ago families arranged marriages for their kids. Today the young people choose who they marry. Lobola is a gift given to the bride’s father from the groom. It is usually money, paid to him for raising the bride.

Extramarital affairs are common for men. If the wives know about it, the men think it’s manly.

Soccer is the popular sport. Basketball is gaining fans. Urban people play many sports. Including: tennis, swimming, boxing, rugby, cricket, polo, and others. Lakes contain parasites so swimming has become hazardous.

Inside activities include watching t.v. and movies. When men get together they drink beer, socialize, play games, and dance. When women gather they go to homes and dance or socialize. Vacationing is rare. Only wealthy people visit tourist attractions, while others visit relatives.

If you compare Zimbabwe with the U.S. we have many of the same holidays, some are: New Year’s, Easter, and Christmas. Some of Zimbabwe’s other holidays different than our’s are the following: Independence Day (April 18), Workers Day (May 1), Africa Day (May 25), Heroes Day and Defense Forces Day (August 11 and 12), and Boxing Day (December 26). They also have other religious holidays.

Zimbabwean’s tend to have the same times of service for stores. They are usually open from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. Saturdays stores are open until around noon. Some shops are open on Sundays. Many Zimbabweans grow at least some of their own food, even urban people.

This is a list of other great sites to check out information on Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Page
--This page has other very good links. It has little information but the links take you to pages with more basic facts and about their culture.

African News Online-Zimbabwe
--This is a resource for news. It has numerous links for different things. The news is updated everyday and you can quickly get information for sports, weather, and news.

CIA--The World Factbook 1999--Zimbabwe
--If you want facts, here you go. At the top of this page there are links for different things including: geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, and transitional issues. This is a page where you’ll never need to leave. The links keep you on the same page and just scroll down to all the facts you need.

Embassy of Zimbabwe
--If you ever want to contact the Zimbabwe Embassy, go to this site! It gives you the address and travel info.

The Zimbabwe Standard Online--This web site has headline news, sports, and much advertising. Subscribe today!

Virtual Zimbabwe--The name says it all! You can search whatever you want and get some great views of the places you like.

Click here for a map of Africa


Bibliography


1.) Brigham Young University . Culturegrams '99. Brigham Young University : Brigham Young University , 1998.

2.) Fung, Karen . Zimbabwe. 1994-2000. 3-29-00 <http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/ssrg/africa/zim.html>.

3.) Africa. 4-6-00 <http://www.east-buc.k12.ia.us/99_00/AF/Af_intro.htm>.


Created by: Cannon

Last updated on April 19, 2000

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