Zimbabwe, formally the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked sovereign state in southern Africa, sandwiched between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bounded to the south by South Africa, to the west by Botswana, to the northwest by Zambia, and to the east and northeast by Mozambique. Although it does not border Namibia, the Zambezi River separates it from that nation by less than 200 metres. Harare is the capital and largest city. Zimbabwe, a country of over 13 million people, has 16 official languages, the most prevalent of which are English, Shona, and Ndebele.
Since the 11th century, modern-day Zimbabwe has been home to many organized governments and kingdoms, as well as a significant migration and commerce route. The current region was initially defined by Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company in the 1890s; it became the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia in 1923. The conservative white minority administration declared unilateral independence as Rhodesia in 1965. The state experienced international isolation and a 15-year guerrilla struggle with black nationalist groups, which ended in a peace accord in April 1980 that granted universal suffrage and de jure statehood. Zimbabwe therefore rejoined the Commonwealth of Nations, from which it had previously withdrawn in 2003. It is a member of the United Nations, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Eastern and Southern African Common Market (COMESA).
Robert Mugabe became Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister in 1980, when his ZANU-PF party won elections following the end of white minority rule; he has been the country’s President since 1987. The state security system ruled the nation and was responsible for extensive human rights violations throughout Mugabe’s dictatorial government. Mugabe has retained Cold War-era revolutionary socialist rhetoric, blaming Zimbabwe’s economic difficulties on conspiring Western capitalist countries. Contemporary African political figures have been hesitant to criticize Mugabe, despite Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s description of him as “a cartoon caricature of a typical African tyrant.”