Zimbabweans celebrated last Tuesday the anniversary of its independence from the United Kingdom (UK) in 1980. The celebration is marked with ceremonial speeches by government officials, a military parade, and an air exhibition of fighter planes in the skies of Harare, the country’s capital and largest city. White doves are also traditionally released to symbolize peace in the nation. The public gathers to sing Zimbabwe’s national anthem ‘Blessed be the land of Zimbabwe’ (‘Kalibusiswe Llizwe leZimbabwe’), and the nation honors its heroes who were instrumental in attaining liberation for their country.
Zimbabwe, which means “great houses of stone,” is believed to have derived its name from the Shona language. This landlocked African nation is bordered by Botswana on the west and southwest, Zambia on the northwest, South Africa on the south, and Mozambique on the east and northeast. It lies between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers. The country is blessed with dramatic landscape and diverse wildlife. Tourists are drawn by the safari areas. The largest water fall in the world, Victoria Falls offers an enchanting experience to tourists. The Great Zimbabwe Ruins (a 1986 World Heritage Site) is a historical site featuring structures built in the 11th century consisting entirely of stone, among the oldest ruins in Southern Africa.
The country was annexed by a number of colonizers. Its greatest struggle to gain freedom from foreign rule was that with the UK that ended on November 11, 1965, pursuant to the Unilateral Declaration of Independence of Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe). However, it was not until April 18, 1980, that the UK officially recognized the country’s full independence. Current President Robert Mugabe assumed the post of head of state shortly after the country gained independence.
We congratulate the people and government of Zimbabwe led by President Robert Mugabe, on the occasion of its National Day.