Local traditions and culture in Zimbabwe

  • Traditional Dancing
    Traditional Dancing
    by PierreZA
  • Bargain for local crafts
    Bargain for local crafts
    by PierreZA
  • Golden Pilsner
    Golden Pilsner
    by PierreZA

Most Viewed Local Customs in Zimbabwe

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    A Helping Hand

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Oct 1, 2007

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    Whether you like it or not, it was customary in southern Africa to employ local people to help with household chores, both inside and outside. Even when I was a poorly paid volunteer in Zambia (relative to other whites or 'mzungus' as we were called), I was constantly faced with entreaties at the door asking for employment. Eventually, I gave in and hired my own guy, James, to look after the odd jobs that I could just have easily done myself. However, to James, it was his main source of income for the years that I was there. The same thing applied in Zimbabwe, except that, with the expatriates that made these countries their life, these employees became like part of the family. I was glad to see Edward again in Harare, still faithfully carrying out his chores 20 years after our first meeting!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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  • TracyG's Profile Photo

    Lots ot tribes!

    by TracyG Updated Jun 14, 2005

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    There are many different groups of people living in Zimbabwe, and even though they do have their problems, most people do actually want to live peacefully. About 75% of Zimbabweans belong to the Shona Tribe, 15% to the Ndebele Tribe, 2% of European origin and the remainder from elsewhere in the world. People are always happy to answer any questions you have about which tribe they come from etc.

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  • tini58de's Profile Photo

    Coke and Culture

    by tini58de Updated Aug 6, 2004

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    Naturally a touristy area doesn't give you the chance to really experience a country, its people and the culture! But still there is plenty to see that is typical for the area and that you will be able to enjoy!!!

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  • Bigs's Profile Photo

    It was a good experience to...

    by Bigs Updated Dec 29, 2003

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    It was a good experience to belong to a minority of people. Now I know how black people (in Europe for example) feel under the majority of whites.....
    But I think that it's even harder here than there, cause I hadn't any difficulties! It was only a strange feeling for me as a white!!!

    Zimbabwian people seem to love cameras. They always agree to get photographed. Sometimes they want a copy, so send them one!

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  • safardreams's Profile Photo

    THEY WORK VERY HARD!!

    by safardreams Written Nov 8, 2002

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    I found in Zimbabwe, as well in Kenya. To
    give the camp hands $5.00- $10.00 a day.
    Thats not per-camp hand. Thats per-traveler. The money gets collected, then they divided up later. Now, your main guide. He gets his own tip. Again, the same as above. But give what you can. It's very important they feel
    they have a reason to keep doing safaris!!
    In turn will help protect the parks and all that is in it!!

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  • Gypsy_Saskia's Profile Photo

    I don't remember who said...

    by Gypsy_Saskia Written Sep 7, 2002

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    I don't remember who said 'You've got the watches, we've got the time' but it could well have been a Zimbabwian. The rush-rush of the modern western countries is something uncommon in Zimbabwe which I believe we should learn from!

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  • bmesfin's Profile Photo

    After a long day of white...

    by bmesfin Written Aug 26, 2002

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    After a long day of white water rafting, head to the few pubs and bars in town to enjoy a refreshingly cold bottle of beer and mix with the locals and visitors and exchange stories about the great river.
    In the picture you see all members of our team where accounted for and enjoying cold beers.

    Like most places around the world people in and around Victoria Falls are friendly, kind and welcoming. If you are interested in native cultures there are villages and farms not far from Victoria Falls to go explore and learn about the the inhabitants. It is worth the effort and adds another dimension to the Vic Falls experience.

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  • anaiis's Profile Photo

    Variety of stamps, used for...

    by anaiis Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Variety of stamps, used for one letter separatedly, indicating high rate of inflation. The value of zim dollar falls. The powerty of once almost developed country (for Africa) is rising. Beware of March 2002 elections, you can expect violence!

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  • anaiis's Profile Photo

    Before rafting or canooing on...

    by anaiis Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Before rafting or canooing on Zambezi, buy yourself one of these. Its called Nyami Nyami and represents a river spirit that will protect you from anything bad. River spirit is very important in African culture, since water is fundamental and waluable resourse. Also, wearing it you can expect wealth. Since nyami nyamis are not heavy, I recommend that you buy a few of them for your friends and family back home. They will love it! They are made of stone, small and look great.

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  • anaiis's Profile Photo

    Do you like my hairdress? I...

    by anaiis Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Do you like my hairdress? I had it done when I got over my cultural shock experience and asimilation took place in my soul. But before getting too excited (I know, it looks great!) you must be aware: for this kind of hairdress (the breads are made from my own hair, not artifical) you must sit still for 7 hours. A lot of hairstylist would try to make you enthusiastic and will say it takes 3-4 hours, but dont believe that. It takes 7 hours at least, so bring water to drink during the procedure. If you have short or thin hair it is better (and least time consuming) if breads are not yours - you can choose which one will you have (colour, style). Now, when you have this hairdress, you are more acceptable and people will make friends faster and easier with you, they will not be afraid or submissive (I hate that). But please, be aware, that this hairdress on this picture also came with lice in the package. So I had to buy lice shampoo to get rid of that. I recommend bringing lice shampoo with you in Zimbambwe. Since that was my only infection there, I am quite satisfied. This hairdress is very recommendable also for thick hair (as mine), since you are not feeling so hot anymore. But do wear a hat allways, the sun is crazy.

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  • anaiis's Profile Photo

    Listen to mbira, a special...

    by anaiis Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Listen to mbira, a special musical instrument. Dont buy cheap mbira at the market, they are useless for playing. The real mbira sounds very nice. But you probably wont resist buying a drum or two. I can tell you - its difficult to bring it on the plain (dont send it by post! - it will get mouldy), but my friend has made it. She is taking drumming lessions now in Slovenia.

    Thomas Mapfuno is the best known music artist outside Zimambwe.

    Here you can listen to clips of mbira playing:
    http://www.ultranet.com/~nmwar/mbira.html
    http://www2.kenyon.edu/projects/ottenhoff/

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  • anaiis's Profile Photo

    Buying African batik is...

    by anaiis Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Buying African batik is definitely a must. I made friends with one woman and we became pen pals. I send her parcels of my used clothes and shoes. She has two daughters and she is a widow now. Her husband died of TBC. She is trying to make the ends meet. I believe in personal help, thats why I am doing this. I know who she is and we can share our grief and hapiness. I just wish I could do more for her. So - when being in 3rd world country - dont look at these people as something strange, exhibited in the zoo. They are people, just as you. They deserve something better. Make friends with them. Chat with them. Give what you can.

    On the picture: african batik (hand painted sheet) and the rest of goods you cant resist.

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  • anaiis's Profile Photo

    When buying, negotiate. I was...

    by anaiis Written Aug 25, 2002

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    When buying, negotiate. I was a bit embarassed to negotiate because price was already very low. Zimbabwean handcrafts are amazing. You will get the lowest price around lunch time. But if you are white, the price is higher... it comes with your skin. Dont be upset.

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  • anaiis's Profile Photo

    Be friendly and respectful....

    by anaiis Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Be friendly and respectful. When ending your journey, dont throw away your things - like toothpaste or half of your shower liquid soap. Those things - even sun tanning cream! - are very very valuable. Even old T shirts and worn out sneakers. You should exchange those at the market, when buying other things - like statues and batik. Dont buy statues the first day, because they are heavy. If you have exceeded the allowed weight for the plane, try the following tactics: send some things in the parcel to your home (not statues - they will brake!) or: cry truthfully at the airport (risky, but efficient in my case).

    I exchanged my used sneakers with the statue on the picture. Unfortunatelly I throw away most of other things (to European its just garbage). But I had to walk barefoot for this statue... :) They even wanted my sweaty smelly socks! We laughed a lot at the market about that. I was the attraction of the day.

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  • janiac's Profile Photo

    Try and see a village and/or...

    by janiac Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Try and see a village and/or school. We visited a school near Vic Falls. The picture is of some of the kids. At the village, we saw how far the villagers had to go to get water. We were very charmed by their house, which is actually a collection of separate huts enclosed in a fence

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Zimbabwe Local Customs

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