Zimbabwe has several distinct cultures, each with its own set of beliefs and rituals, one of which is Shona, Zimbabwe’s biggest ethnic group. The Shona people have a large number of sculptures and carvings that are created from the best materials available.
Zimbabwe declared independence on April 18, 1980. Harare’s celebrations take place at either the National Sports Stadium or Rufaro Stadium. The Zimbabwe Grounds hosted the first independence celebrations in 1980. Doves are released to symbolize peace, fighter aircraft fly above, and the national hymn is played at these festivities. After parades by the president’s family and members of Zimbabwe’s armed forces, the president lights the independence flame. The president also delivers an address to the Zimbabwean people, which is broadcast for those who are unable to attend the stadium. Zimbabwe also hosts a national beauty pageant, Miss Heritage Zimbabwe, which has been conducted every year since 2012.
Pottery, basketry, textiles, jewelry, and carving are examples of traditional Zimbabwean arts. Asymmetrically patterned woven baskets and stools carved from a single piece of wood are among the distinguishing features. Shona sculpture, which first gained prominence in the 1940s, has recently become world-famous. The majority of carved sculptures, including stylized birds and human figures, are created from sedimentary rocks such as soapstone, as well as harder igneous rocks such as serpentine and the uncommon stone verdite. Zimbabwean artifacts may be discovered in Singapore, China, and Canada, for example, Dominic Benhura’s monument at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Shona sculpture has been passed down through the generations, and the contemporary form is a mix of African mythology and European elements. Sculptors from Zimbabwe who have achieved international acclaim include Nicholas, Nesbert, and Anderson Mukomberanwa, Tapfuma Gutsa, Henry Munyaradzi, and Locardia Ndandarika. Through long apprenticeships with master sculptors in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwean sculptors have managed to inspire a new generation of artists, especially Black Americans, on a global scale. Contemporary artists such as New York sculptor M. Scott Johnson and California sculptor Russel Albans have learnt to combine both African and Afro-diasporic aesthetics in a manner that goes beyond the simple imitation of African Art by certain Black artists in the United States of previous generations.
Several writers are well-known both in Zimbabwe and internationally. In Zimbabwe, Charles Mungoshi is well-known for penning traditional tales in both English and Shona, and his poetry and novels have sold well in both the black and white populations. Catherine Buckle has gained worldwide acclaim for her two novels, African Tears and Beyond Tears, which recount her experience during the 2000 Land Reform. Ian Smith, Rhodesia’s first Prime Minister, authored two novels, The Great Betrayal and Bitter Harvest. Dambudzo Marechera’s book The House of Hunger won an award in the United Kingdom in 1979, and Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing’s first novel The Grass Is Singing, the first four volumes of The Children of Violence sequence, and the collection of short stories African Stories are all set in Rhodesia. NoViolet Bulawayo’s book We Need New Names was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2013. The book depicts the destruction and exodus caused by the violent repression of Zimbabwean citizens during the early 1980s Gukurahundi.
Henry Mudzengerere and Nicolas Mukomberanwa are two internationally renowned painters. The transformation of man into beast is a recurrent subject in Zimbabwean art. International acclaim has been bestowed upon Zimbabwean artists such as Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi, the Bhundu Boys, Alick Macheso, and Audius Mtawarira. Theatre has a significant following among members of Zimbabwe’s white minority population, with many dramatic groups playing in Zimbabwe’s major regions.
The bulk of Zimbabweans, like many Africans, rely on a few basic foods. “Mealie meal,” sometimes known as cornmeal, is used to make sadza or isitshwala, as well as bota or ilambazi porridge. Sadza is prepared by combining cornmeal and water to form a thick paste/porridge. After the paste has cooked for a few minutes, additional cornmeal is added to thicken it.
This is often served for lunch or supper, with sides of gravy, vegetables (spinach, chomolia, or spring greens/collard greens), beans, and meat (stewed, grilled, roasted, or sundried). Sadza is often served with curdled milk (sour milk), also called as “lacto” (mukaka wakakora), or dried Tanganyika sardine, also known locally as kapenta or matemba. Bota is a thinner porridge that is made without the inclusion of cornmeal and is often flavored with peanut butter, milk, butter, or jam. Bota is often consumed during breakfast.
Graduations, marriages, and other family events are often marked by the slaughter of a goat or cow, which is then grilled or roasted by the family.
Despite the fact that Afrikaners make up a tiny percentage of the white minority group (10%), Afrikaner dishes remain popular. Biltong, a kind of jerky, is a popular snack made by hanging seasoned raw beef pieces to dry in the shade. Sadza is served with boerewors. It is a lengthy, well-seasoned sausage made with beef rather than pig and grilled. Because Zimbabwe was a British colony, some Zimbabweans have inherited colonial-era English eating habits. For example, most individuals will eat porridge in the morning, followed by tea around 10 a.m. (midday tea). They’ll have lunch, which is usually leftovers from the night before, freshly made sadza, or sandwiches (which is more common in the cities). After lunch, 4 o’clock tea (afternoon tea) is typically offered before supper. It is fairly unusual to have tea after supper.
Zimbabwean cuisine also includes rice, spaghetti, and potato-based dishes (french fries and mashed potato). Rice cooked with peanut butter, served with rich gravy, mixed veggies, and meat, is a local favorite. Mutakura is a traditional meal made of peanuts known as nzungu, boiled and sun-dried maize, black-eyed peas known as nyemba, and bambara groundnuts known as nyimo. Mutakura may also be made from the aforementioned components cooked separately. Maputi (roasted/popped maize kernels similar to popcorn), roasted and salted peanuts, sugar cane, sweet potato, pumpkin, and indigenous fruits such as horned melon, gaka, adansonia, mawuyu, uapaca kirkiana, mazhanje (sugar plum), and many more are also available.
Football is Zimbabwe’s most popular sport. The Warriors qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations twice (in 2004 and 2006), won the Southern Africa title four times (in 2000, 2003, 2005, and 2009), and the Eastern Africa cup once (1985).
Rugby union is a popular sport in Zimbabwe. The national team has competed in two Rugby World Cup competitions, in 1987 and 1991. World Rugby presently has the squad rated 26th in the world. Cricket is also popular among the white minority. Andy Flower, the former coach of the England Cricket Team, is a notable Zimbabwean cricketer.
Zimbabwe has eight Olympic medals, including one in field hockey with the women’s team in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, and seven by swimmer Kirsty Coventry, three at the 2004 Summer Olympics and four at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Zimbabwe has also performed well in swimming in the Commonwealth Games and All-Africa Games, with Kirsty Coventry winning 11 gold medals in various categories. Zimbabwe has also participated in tennis in Wimbledon and the Davis Cup, most notably with the Black family of Wayne Black, Byron Black, and Cara Black. Zimbabwe has also done well in the sport of golf. In the 24-year history of the ranking, Zimbabwean Nick Price maintained the official World Number One position longer than any other African player.
Basketball, volleyball, netball, and water polo are also popular in Zimbabwe, as are squash, motorsport, martial arts, chess, cycling, polocrosse, kayaking, and horse racing. Most of these sports, however, do not have international representation and instead remain at the junior or national level.