Defining Moments in Zimbabwe's History - 1980 - 2015 #SpeakZim35

History | By POVO Correspondent, Editorial | 02 October 2015
PHOTO: © Baynham Goredema

A collection of defining moments in Zimbabwe's history from 1980 - 2015. Marking 35 years of Independance. 

- Zimbabwe attains independence from British colonial rule after 2nd Chimurenga, a war of liberation
- Bob Marley was the first international artist to perform in Zimbabwe at the independence celebrations.
- Women’s hockey team win a gold medal at the Moscow Summer Olympics. In all Zimbabwe sent 42 competitors (23 men and 19 women) in 10 sports and has not sent that many to date.

- Entumbane Uprising (known as the Battle of Bulawayo or Entumbane II) in Bulawayo where the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) guerrillas, rebelled, creating a situation that threatened to develop into a fresh civil war.
- Zimbabwe played host to the first West Indies (B) cricket team tour.

- Joshua Nkomo, leader and founder of the Zimbabwe Afrikan Peoples Union, accused of plotting a coup and dismissed him from the cabinet. 

- Gukurahundi (Shona: “the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains”) was the suppression of Zimbabwean civilians, mostly supporters of Joshua Nkomo, by Zimbabwe’s 5th Brigade in the predominantly Ndebele regions of Zimbabwe. In the ensuing conflict thousands were killed—estimates range as high as 30,000.
- Zimbabwe cricket team beat Australia at their first World cup appearance held in England.

- Zimbabwe Armed Forces Black Rhinos Football Club established. 

-  The first time a general election in Zimbabwe had been conducted under the administration of that country’s authorities. It saw the re-election, of the Zimbabwe Afrikan National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) government under Robert Mugabe.

- Former Mozambican president, Samora Machel dies in a plane crash. First time hearing the iconic ‘Tormented Soul’ by Mattias Xavier (Hey, hey, heyeyeye).
- Halley’s comet sighted in Harare and will not be sighted for another 75 years, so we could see it twice in our lifetime. 

- Robert Mugabe and ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo signed the Unity Accord effectively dissolving ZAPU into ZANU, renamed Zimbabwe Afrikan National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Unity Day holiday is in remembrance of this.
- Madonna asked Bundu Boys fronted by Biggie Tembo to be her support act at Wembley Stadium in 1987, they performed in front of a 80 000 crowd.

- Amnesty International’s Human Rights Now! concert in Zimbabwe featuring performances by Tracy Chapman, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel and Youssou N’Dour.
- Mugabe announced an amnesty for all dissidents and criminals of various types serving jail terms on 18 April, Nkomo called on them to lay down their arms. A general ordinance was issued saying all those who surrendered before 31 May would get a full pardon. 

-  Willowgate scandal exposed by the Chronicle newspaper where government ministers were given preference in buying vehicles at the Willowvale motor industries at discounted prices and re-selling them at very inflated prices. It led to the resignation of the ministers.

- First elections to be contested under the amended constitution of 1987, which established an elected executive presidency and abolished the Senate. They were also the first ever elections in the country to be contested on a single roll, I.e. with no separate voting for whites and blacks.
- Edgar Tekere formed an opposition party Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) which contested in the election. 
- In July the government lifted the 25-year-old state of emergency.
- Students protested against proposals for an increase in government control of universities.
- Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) founded and is one of the earliest and highly regarded LGBTI (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Intersex) advocacy organizations in Southern Africa. 

- Zimbabwe became a republic on 17 April.
- The Nyanga Bus Disaster - Zimbabwe’s worst bus disaster - happened when a bus carrying Regina Coeli students and staff members from a sports event, crashed about 20km from the school. The bus was overloaded with about 100 people, instead of the stipulated 75 passenger limit. 

- Zimbabwe experienced the worst drought in living memory.
- ESAP (Economic Structural Adjustment Programme), an economic policy which  is sited as one of the causes of the destruction of the Zimbabwe economy.
- The first cases of a cholera epidemic were reported from within the Tongogara Refugee Camp in Manicaland.
- Sarah Francesca (Hayfron) Mugabe  a.k.a. Sally Mugabe, the first wife of Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe passed away.

- Baptists from many nations gathered in Harare, August to produce a response to racism known as The Harare Declaration (1993). 

- Zimbabwe School Examinations Council Act (ZIMSEC ACT 1994) was passed by Parliament.

-  Bundu Boys lead singer Biggie Tembo commits suicide
- 6th All-Afrika Games were held in Harare, winning 7 medals, 1 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze.
- Establishment of Great Zimbabwe University, which began life as the Masvingo State University (MSU).
- Introduction of Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC). 

- Establishment of University of Bindura borne from the  Zimbabwe-Cuba Teacher Training Programme, which used to send student teachers to Cuba for training in Science Education.
- President Robert Mugabe marries Grace Marufu.

- The government unilaterally banned anti-personnel mines on 15 May 1997
- Privatisation of Dairibord one of the largest food producers in southern Afrika, former state owned Dairy Marketing Board
- November 14 -  “Black Friday”, when the Zimbabwe dollar lost 71,5% of its value against the United States dollar. Sited as another marker in the collapse of the economy.

- Government sends part of the Zimbabwe National Army to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to fight in the Second Congo War
- Econet Wireless received the license to operate a second mobile telecommunications network in Zimbabwe after a five year battle with the government.

- Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formed, first proper opposition for ruling party ZANU PF founded by trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai.
- Inception of Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) - a 6-day annual festival and workshop programme
- A court sentenced Canaan Banana, Methodist minister, theologian, and the former President of Zimbabwe to ten years imprisonment, nine years suspended for sodomy.
- Establishment of the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU), a distance education university in Zimbabwe, the only distance education university in the country.
- Death of Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo, he was the leader and founder of the Zimbabwe Afrikan People’s Union (ZAPU) and a member of the Ndebele tribe.
- Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts or ZIVA was founded by Saki Mafundikwa  as the first school of digital design, new media and visual communication in Zimbabwe.

- Referendum on the draft constitution which resulted in a resounding ‘No’ vote.
- Fast-Track Land Reform Program” (FTLRP). The predominantly white farm owners were forced off the land by war veterans.
- Food Riots due to price increases.
- Passing away of Richard Utete Tsimba a.k.a “The Black Diamond”,  the first black player to represent his country at rugby. 

- Daily News building bombed destroying its printing presses.
- Tsotso magazine, which was published with a mandate to undermine the continued colonial domination of literature is, shut down.
- Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo implements 75% local content, despite many misconceptions only Power FM moved it up to 100% as an experiment! 

- The Chirundu Bridge built, a two-lane, three-span continuous prestressed concrete box girder bridge, 400m long and 10.3m wide, 65 km downstream from the Kariba Dam where the river is about 400m wide.

-  Co - Hosted the world cup cricket with South Afrika.
- Last execution. About 78 people have been executed in Zimbabwe since independence. Amongst the last 4 executed was Chidhumo.  

- Inception of the POVO Brand with the compilation of a 36 page A6 sized booklet with a collection of essays by artists and showcase of their work.
- Blessing Makunike together with  Shingirai Alron and Gary Mashoko, and two supporters, burned to death in a car accident, marking the greatest loss of players lives in a single incident in Zimbabwean football.
- Saki Mafundikwa authors Afrikan Alphabets - The Story of Writing in Afrika, which is the first book on Afrikan typography. 

- Operation Murambatsvina / Restore Order billed to rid urban areas of illegal structures resulted in the displacement of over 700,000 people.
- MDC breaks into factions, MDC T (Morgan Tsvangirai) and MDC N (Welshman Ncube).
- The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development is set up being responsible for gender and community issues in Zimbabwe. 

-  The beginning of the Marange diamond rush. Considered to be home to one of the world’s richest diamond deposits

-  The United States imposed travel sanctions against 38 people with ties to President Mugabe

- Hyper Inflation in Zimbabwe rises to about 150,000%, in the midst of a sophisticated black market.
- Human rights activist Jestina Mukoko abducted during the night from her home.
- General election with official results being announced more than a month after the first round. No clear winner made way for the first runoff after an election pipping,  Tsvangirai (with 47.9% of the first round vote) against Mugabe (43.2%).
- Government of National Unity (GNU) power-sharing agreement brokered by South Afrikan leader Thabo Mbeki who had earlier announced to the world that there was ‘No Crisis’ in Zimbabwe.
- Zimbabweans  who fled the dire economic situation in their country are targeted in xenophobic attacks in South Afrika.=

- February Tsvangirai was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe
- March, Tsvangirai’s wife was killed in a car accident
- Use of the Zimbabwean dollar as an official currency effectively abandoned allowing the use of foreign currencies alongside its dollar
- Launch of the online POVO platform

- Brazil played Zimbabwe beating them 3-0 on their way to the World Cup Football in South Afrika
- Solomon Mujuru a.k.a Rex Nhongo dies in an inferno. 
- Establishment of Zimbabwe National Paralympic Committee (ZNPC) which is responsible for overseeing disability sports in the country.
- Death of Sam Mtukudzi, son of singer Oliver Mtukudzi

- Inaugural SHOKO festival by Magamba Network
- The first printed edition of the POVO Journal.

- Paul Brickhill presented with the Prince Klaus Award by the Netherlands government for  his role in establishing the Book Cafe.
- Ishmael Lo performs at Harare International Festival of the Arts 

- United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 20th Session of the General Assembly held in Victoria Falls .
- Elections landslide victory for ZANU PF bringing an end to the GNU.
- Exponent of mbira music Chiwoniso Maraire passes away

- Victoria Falls hotel reaches 100 years.
- State of Disaster Declared in Masvingo as Tokwe-Mukorsi dam overflowed and flooded areas downstream with over 20 000 people being displaced.
- Zimbabwe beat Australia in ODI cricket after 31 years.
- A total of three Miss Zimbabwes in the same year, Thabiso Phiri replaced by Cathrine Makaya who was also dethroned to give way to Tendai Hunda
- Founder of the Book Cafe and activist Paul Brickhill passes away.

- President Robert Mugabe becomes AU chairperson.
- Activist and journalist Itai Dzamara abducted, by six men and disappeared  was still missing at the time of going to press.
- 13 year old Cecil the lion who lived in the Hwange National Park was killed. He was a major attraction at the park and was being studied and tracked by the University of Oxford as part of a larger study.
- The Book Cafe closes its doors after battling to stay afloat.
- Vendors invade and flood Harare CBD, and it has proved to be difficult to take them out.
- Mass retrenchments after landmark interpretation of the law by the courts

You think we left out some importatnt evets, add year and event in the comments section and we will add to the list.