The Republic of Zimbabwe is home to 13 million people. It is a landlocked, southern African country bordered by Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa. Almost all of Zimbabwe lies over 1,000 feet (300 metres) above sea level. The country is mostly covered by tropical savanna. Due to its subtropical climate and wet summers, tree growth flourishes in Zimbabwe. Its landscape is most noteworthy for its spectacular view of Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe’s major languages are English (official), Shona and Sindebele. It has a diverse cultural heritage that so closely intertwines music and dance, one is rarely found without the other. Most religious and social activities are enriched by music and dancing, but traditional music genres vary widely as numerous ethnic groups inhabit the country. However, most traditional Zimbabwean music is accompanied by drums of various shapes and sizes. Percussive instruments are also common. These include shakers, leg rattles and wooden clappers. The most famous Zimbabwean instrument is the mbira (kalimba, thumb piano), a wooden board with staggered metal tines that are plucked by the thumbs. This instrument is also the basis for our Conservation Music logo!
Since 2000, severe droughts have led to poverty and starvation in Zimbabwe. Additionally, the seizure and redistricting of farms has led to a sharp fall in agricultural output. Dramatic population growth, over farming, overgrazing, soil erosion and pesticide contamination have all seriously affected human health and wildlife. Poaching is also a significant threat to Zimbabwean wildlife. The endangered black rhinoceros and African are particularly at risk.
Zimbabwe’s history has been stained by ongoing struggles for power, land and independence. Robert Mugabe has been both prime minister and president of Zimbabwe since the country gained independence from Britain in 1980.
Radio is the primary source of information in Zimbabwe. State-owned, private and overseas-based radio stations all broadcast in Zimbabwe. However, the government considers foreign broadcasts to be hostile and deliberately interferes with transmissions. The internet is relatively free from governmental interference and there were 6.7 million users in Zimbabwe by 2015. However, the internet is expensive and is regularly disrupted by power cuts.
Coming soon: “Matope” by the legendary Dr. Oliver Mtukudzi!