The Natural History Museum in Bulawayo embraces a comprehensive library and exhibition galleries. Its world-renowned collections relate to Entomology (insects), Geology, Herpetology (reptiles and amphibians), Ichthyology (fishes), Mammology, Ornithology (birds), and Palaeontology (prehistoric life forms). There is a wide variety of public galleries exhibiting the history of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences in Harare houses a library, exhibition galleries, and a model Shona Village, in addition to holding ethnographic and archaeological collections. Wildlife exhibits are on show in public galleries.
Mutare Museum has a large collection of antiquities that include early forms of modern technology. The transport gallery portrays the history of that sector in the country, while the public galleries show animal and plant forms peculiar to the Eastern Districts, as well as the cultures of the people therein.
Gweru Museum is essentially a military and police history museum. A new development is the Aviation Museum, which houses both military and civilian aircraft, and is expanding to reflect the country’s history in that field. Gold Mining Museum in Kwe Kwe depicts through mining antiquarian, the history of the gold mining industry from the earliest times to date. At the same venue is the Paper House built of paper mache and wire mesh walls. It is the sole survivor of three such buildings constructed in 1895.
The Great Zimbabwe was declared a World Heritage Site in 1986. It was known for its grandeur as early as the 16th century when its existence was made known to the outside world by the Portuguese. It is spread over 720 hectare area, and comprises an impressive array of dry stone structure that divides into three groups: the Hill Complex, which is a series of stone-walled enclosures set among boulders at the top of an 80 metre high wall; The Great Enclosure, a massive wall 255 metre circumference, 10 metres high and 5 metres wide in parts; the Valley Complex, from which the carved Zimbabwe Bird, now the country’s emblem, was found.
Other monuments are Khami in Bulawayo, also declared a World Heritage site in 1986, Nalatale, Dhlodhlo, and Dziwa.
The National Archives, situated 6 kilometres from central Harare on the Borrowdale Road, is the storehouse of Zimbabwe’s history. It is custodian of the national documentary heritage, and its collection includes the records of Central Government, local authorities, and parastatals, the papers of private individuals who have contributed to the history and development of the country, the national reference library, pictorial, audio-visual and map collections, and special deposits, such as coins, medals, and postage stamps.
Zimbabwe is very rich in Rock Art. In the Rock Art Section of the Department of Stone Age Archaeology in Harare, there is an official listing of over 2000 painted caves and sites. The most impressive is the beautifully painted Nzwatugi Cave in the Matopos, considered to be among the most outstanding in Africa. Also of major interest in the same area are the Silozwane, Bambata, and Pomongwe caves. Prehistoric paintings on rock faces, overhangs, and shelters are to be found throughout Zimbabwe, and many more remain to be discovered.
Stone sculpture is a thriving form of art, which has its roots in our culture. The artistry manifests itself through animals, people, abstract art, etc. There are a lot of renowned Shona Stone Sculptors, the most popular of them being Nicholas Mukomberanwa, Henry Munyaradzi, and the late Takawira brothers. In most cases, the stone sculptures portray powerful messages about our lifestyles. Woodcarvings of different animals, people, etc., are also found especially along the Bulawayo to Victoria Falls road.
This is another form of art depicting our culture, and includes household utensils of clay pots used for cooking and storing water.
This has mushroomed all over Zimbabwe, and the products are displayed along highways leading to tourist resort centres, in shops, etc. Goods include dresses, shirts, table mats, doilies, and hats.
Zimbabweans are a happy people, and they express their happiness through music and dance. Traditional music always had a message or lesson, and the beauty of the songs comes out through the various traditional music instruments, like the drums, mbira, marimba, congas, and jingles. Some music artists have also diversified into modern music. Zimbabwean musicians of outstanding repute include Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mutukudzi, Simon Chimbetu, and Leonard Zhakata.
Hospitality and etiquette are the hallmark of our traditional culture. It is the norm to welcome strangers, make them feel comfortable, and give them food, as well as assist them. Food and drink is abundant, and the most popular Zimbabwean dish is sadza (maize paste) and beef stew with vegetables. The National Breweries has 7 different types of larger beer, namely Castle, Lion, Black Label, Bohlingers, Golden Pilsner, Centenary, and Zambezi, which has carved its niche in the US market. Zimbabweans also enjoy traditional bulk beer called Chibuku.
Sport and Recreation
Zimbabweans are keen sports fans. Soccer is by far the most popular team sport, and as such has the largest following. State policy is to spread previously minority sports like tennis, cricket, and rugby, and make them attract bigger crowds.
Recent international successes that have seen the country achieve Test Status in cricket and five runs in the Davis Cup tournament have boosted the two disciplines’ crowd appeal.
Public support for golf, netball, handball, cycling, swimming, athletics, water skiing, gymnastics and hockey is on the increase, especially after construction of modern facilities in 1995.
For the fitness enthusiast, there are numerous clubs and gymnasiums offering a variety of sports, ranging from Karate to Judo, and boxing.