SomaliPress.com

Zimbabwe Peoples

Ethnic groups: Shona 71%, Ndebele 16%, other African 11%, white 1%, mixed and Asian 1%.


More than two-thirds of the population of Zimbabwe speak Shona as their first language, while about one out of five speak Ndebele. Both Shona and Ndebele are Bantu languages; from the time of their great southward migration, Bantu-speaking tribes have populated what is now Zimbabwe for more than 10 centuries. Those who speak Ndebele are concentrated in a circle around Bulawayo, with Shona-speaking peoples beyond them on all sides - the Kalanga to the southwest, the Karanga to the east around Nyanda (formerly Fort Victoria), the Zezuru to the northeast, and the Rozwi and Tonga to the north. Generations of intermarriage have to a degree blurred the linguistic division between the Shona and Ndebele peoples.

Among the whites in Zimbabwe at independence were the descendants of the country's first European immigrants. Only about one-quarter of the adult white population, however, were born in Zimbabwe. After World War II the white population grew severalfold because of heavy immigration, and some two-thirds of the present white population have their origins in Europe, the great majority from Britain. The rest have come largely from South Africa. Of the whites living in rural areas, about one-quarter are Afrikaners.

There are several thousand Asians, forming a community that is predominantly concerned with trade. There are also Zimbabweans of mixed race, called Coloureds, who are mainly skilled and semiskilled workers.

Last Updated on Monday 4th August 2008