Last updated


Bulawayo CBD.jpg
View of Bulawayo's Central Business District (CBD) from Pioneer House by Prince Phumulani Nyoni. The CBD is 5.4 square kilometres and is in a grid pattern with 17 avenues and 11 streets.
Flag of Bulawayo.svg
Bulawayo Zimbabwe COA.svg
Coat of arms
Bulawayo district.png
Location in Bulawayo Province
Zimbabwe adm location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in Bulawayo Province
Coordinates: 20°10′12″S28°34′48″E / 20.17000°S 28.58000°E / -20.17000; 28.58000 Coordinates: 20°10′12″S28°34′48″E / 20.17000°S 28.58000°E / -20.17000; 28.58000
Country Zimbabwe
Province Bulawayo
District City of Bulawayo
Incorporated (town)1897
Incorporated (city)1943
4 Districts, 29 Wards, 156 Suburbs
  Type Provincial Municipality
   Mayor Solomon Mguni
  City1,706.8 km2 (659.0 sq mi)
  Water129.3 km2 (49.9 sq mi)
993.5 km2 (383.6 sq mi)
1,706.8 km2 (659.0 sq mi)
1,358 m (4,455 ft)
  Density700/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
  Urban density2,305/km2 (5,970/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+2 (CAT)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (not observed)
Area code(s) 9
HDI (2017)0.649 [2]
medium · 1st
Website citybyo.co.zw

Bulawayo (Ndebele: koBulawayo) is the second largest city in Zimbabwe, and the largest city in the country's Matabeleland. The city's population is disputed; the 2012 census listed it at 653,337, while the Bulawayo City Council claimed it to be about 1.2 million. Bulawayo covers an area of about 1,707 square kilometres (659 sq mi) in the western part of the country, along the Matsh' Amhlope River. Along with the capital Harare, Bulawayo is one of two cities in Zimbabwe that are also a province.

Northern Ndebele, also called Ndebele, isiNdebele, Zimbabwean Ndebele or North Ndebele, and formerly known as Matabele, is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, spoken by the Northern Ndebele people, or Matabele, of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe republic in southern Africa

Zimbabwe, officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. The capital and largest city is Harare. A country of roughly 16 million people, Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, with English, Shona, and Ndebele the most commonly used.

Matabeleland Place

Modern-day Matabeleland is a region in Zimbabwe divided into three provinces: Matabeleland North, Bulawayo and Matabeleland South. These provinces are in the west and south-west of Zimbabwe, between the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers. The region is named after its inhabitants, the Ndebele people. Other ethnic groups who inhabit parts of Matabeleland include the Tonga, Kalanga, Venda, Nambia, Sotho, Tswana and Khoisan. As of August 2012, according to the Zimbabwean national statistics agency ZIMSAT, the southern part of the region had 683,893 people, comprising 326,697 males and 356,926 females, with an average size household of 4.4 in an area of 54,172 square kilometres (20,916 sq mi). As for the Matabeleland Northern Province, it had a total population of 749,017 people out of the population of Zimbabwe of 13,061,239. The proportion of males and females was 48 and 52 percent respectively within an area of just over 75,017 square kilometres (28,964 sq mi). The remaining Bulawayo province had a population of 653,337 in an area of 1,706.8 square kilometres (659.0 sq mi). Thus the region has a combined population of 2,086,247 in an area of just over 130,000 square kilometres (50,000 sq mi) and that is just over the size of England. The major city is Bulawayo, other notable towns are Plumtree and Hwange. The land is particularly fertile but dry. This area has important gold deposits. Industries include gold and other mineral mines, and engineering. There has been a decline in the industries in this region as water is in short supply. Promises by the government to draw water for the region through the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project have not been carried out. The region is allegedly marginalised by the government.


Bulawayo was founded around 1840 as the kraal of Mzilikazi, the Ndebele king. His son, Lobengula, succeeded him in the 1860s, and ruled from Bulawayo until 1893, when the settlement was captured by British South Africa Company soldiers during the First Matabele War. That year, the first white settlers arrived and rebuilt the town. The town was besieged by Ndebele warriors during the Second Matabele War. Bulawayo attained municipality status in 1897, and city status in 1943.


Kraal is an Afrikaans and Dutch word for an enclosure for cattle or other livestock, located within an African settlement or village surrounded by a fence of thorn-bush branches, a palisade, mud wall, or other fencing, roughly circular in form. It is similar to a boma in eastern or central Africa.

Mzilikazi Zulu king

Mzilikazi was a Southern African king who founded the Matabele Kingdom (khumalo), Matabeleland, in what became British South Africa Company-ruled Rhodesia and is now Zimbabwe. His name means "the great road". He was born the son of Matshobana near Mkuze, Zululand, and died at Ingama, Matabeleland. Many consider him to be the greatest Southern African military leader after the Zulu king Shaka. David Livingstone, in his autobiography, referred to Mzilikazi as the second most impressive leader he encountered on the African continent.

Lobengula King of Matabeleland

Inkos'uLobengula Khumalo (1845–1894) was the second and last king of the Northern Ndebele people. Both names, in the isiNdebele language, mean "the men of the long shields", a reference to the Ndebele warriors' use of the Zulu shield and spear.

Bulawayo is, at least historically, the principal industrial centre of Zimbabwe; its factories produce cars and car products, building materials, electronic products, textiles, furniture, and food products. Bulawayo is also the hub of Zimbabwe's rail network and the headquarters of the National Railways of Zimbabwe.In recent years, the city's economy has struggled as many factories either closed or moved operations to Harare. Still, Bulawayo has the highest Human Development Index in the country, at .649 as of 2017.

The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is the parastatal railway of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean railway system was largely constructed during the time of British colonial rule and was called Rhodesia Railways (RR) until 1980. Segments of its systems were intended to be part of the Cape to Cairo Railway.

Human Development Index composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and income indices

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. A country scores a higher HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, and the GNI (PPP) per capita is higher. It was developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq, with help from Gustav Ranis of Yale University and Meghnad Desai of the London School of Economics, and was further used to measure a country's development by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)'s Human Development Report Office.

Bulawayo's central business district (CBD) covers 5.4 square kilometres (2.1 sq mi) in the heart of the city, and is surrounded by numerous suburbs towards the outskirts. The majority of the city's population belong to the Ndebele people, with minorities of Shona and other groups. Bulawayo is home to over a dozen colleges and universities, most notably the National University of Science and Technology. The Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe, formerly the National Museum, is located in Bulawayo, and the city is in close proximity to popular tourist sites like Matobo National Park and the Khami Ruins, and World Heritage Site.

The Northern Ndebele people are a Bantu nation and ethnic group in Southern Africa, who share a common Ndebele culture and Ndebele language. The Northern Ndebele were historically referred to as the Matabele which was a seSotho corruption of 'Ndebele'. Their history began when a Zulu chiefdom split from King Shaka in the early 19th century under the leadership of Mzilikazi, a former chief in his kingdom and ally. Under his command the disgruntled Zulus went on to conquer and rule the chiefdoms of the Southern Ndebele. This was where the name and identity of the eventual kingdom was adopted.

The Shona are a Bantu ethnic group native to Zimbabwe and neighboring countries. The people are divided into five major clans and adjacent to other groups of very similar culture and languages. This name came into effect in the 19th century due to their skill of disappearing and hiding in caves when attacked. Hence Mzilikazi the great king called them amaShona meaning "those who just disappear." When the white settlers came to Mashonaland, they banned the Shona people from staying near caves and kopjes because of their hiding habits. This explanation is because there is no word called "Shona" in the Shona language vocabulary. There are various interpretations whom to subsume to the Shona proper and whom only to the Shona family.

The National University of Science and Technology (NUST) is the second largest public research university in Zimbabwe, located in Bulawayo. It was established in 1991. On 8 April 1991, NUST opened for the first time with 270 students in three faculties. The number of academic staff was 28.


Inhabitant of Bulawayo, 1890 Bulawayo native c1890 large.jpg
Inhabitant of Bulawayo, 1890
Bulawayo Scouts in 1893 Bulawayo scouts 1893.jpg
Bulawayo Scouts in 1893

The city was founded by the Ndebele king, Lobhengula, the son of King Mzilikazi born of Matshobana who settled in modern-day Zimbabwe around the 1840s after the Ndebele people's great trek from Nguniland. The name Bulawayo comes from the Ndebele word KoBulawayo meaning "a place where he is being killed". It is thought that, at the time of the formation of the city, there was a civil war. A group of Ndebeles not aligned to Prince Lobengula were fighting him as they felt he was not the heir to the throne, hence he gave his capital the name "where he (the prince) is being killed". It is said that when King Lobengula named the place "KoBulawayo" his generals asked "who is being killed mtanenkosi (prince)?" and he replied "Yimi umntwanenkosi engibulawayo", meaning "it's me, the prince, who is being killed". At the time Lobengula was a prince fighting to ascend his father's (Mzilikazi) throne. It was common at the time for people to refer to Bulawayo as "KoBulawayo UmntwaneNkosi" "a place where they are fighting or rising against the prince". The name Bulawayo is imported from Nguniland which was once occupied by the Khumalo people. The place still exists: It is next to Richards Bay.[ citation needed ]

In the 1860s the city was further influenced by European intrigue, and many colonial powers cast covetous eyes on Bulawayo and the land surrounding it. Britain made skillful use of private initiative in the shape of Cecil Rhodes and the Chartered Company to disarm the suspicion of her rivals. Lobengula once described Britain as a chameleon and himself as the fly. [3]

Cecil Rhodes British businessman, mining magnate and politician in South Africa

Cecil John Rhodes was a British businessman, mining magnate and politician in southern Africa who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. An ardent believer in British imperialism, Rhodes and his British South Africa Company founded the southern African territory of Rhodesia, which the company named after him in 1895. South Africa's Rhodes University is also named after him. Rhodes set up the provisions of the Rhodes Scholarship, which is funded by his estate. He also put much effort towards his vision of a Cape to Cairo Railway through British territory.

During the 1893 Matabele War, the invasion by British South Africa Company troops forced King Lobengula to evacuate his followers, after first detonating munitions and setting fire to the town. [4] BSAC troops and white settlers occupied the ruins. On 4 November 1893, Leander Starr Jameson declared Bulawayo a settlement under the rule of the British South Africa Company. Cecil Rhodes ordained that the new settlement be founded on the ruins of Lobengula's royal kraal, which is where the State House stands today. In 1897, the new town of Bulawayo acquired the status of municipality, and Lt. Col. Harry White became one of the first mayors. [5]


At the outbreak of the Second Matabele War, in March 1896, Bulawayo was besieged by Ndebele forces, and a laager was established there for defensive purposes. The Ndebele had experienced the brutal effectiveness of the British Maxim guns in the First Matabele War, so they never mounted a significant attack against Bulawayo, even though over 10,000 Ndebele warriors could be seen near the town. Rather than wait passively, the settlers mounted patrols, called the Bulawayo Field Force, under Frederick Selous and Frederick Russell Burnham. These patrols rode out to rescue any surviving settlers in the countryside and attacked the Ndebele. In the first week of fighting, 20 men of the Bulawayo Field Force were killed and 50 were wounded. An unknown number of Ndebele were killed and wounded.

During the siege, conditions in Bulawayo quickly deteriorated. By day, settlers could go to homes and buildings in the town, but at night they were forced to seek shelter in the much smaller laager. Nearly 1,000 women and children were crowded into the small area and false alarms of attacks were common. The Ndebele made a critical error during the siege in neglecting to cut the telegraph lines connecting Bulawayo to Mafikeng. This gave the besieged Bulawayo Field Force and the British relief forces, coming from Salisbury and Fort Victoria (now Harare and Masvingo respectively) 300 miles to the north, and from Kimberley and Mafeking 600 miles to the south, far more information than they would otherwise have had. Once the relief forces arrived in late May 1896, the siege was broken and an estimated 50,000 Ndebele retreated into their stronghold, the Matobo Hills near Bulawayo. Not until October 1896 would the Ndebele finally lay down their arms to the invaders.

Modern city

In 1943, Bulawayo received city status.

In recent years, Bulawayo has experienced a sharp fall in living standards coinciding with the severe economic crisis affecting the country. The main problems include poor investment, reluctance by government to improve infrastructure and corruption and nepotism leading to most original dwellers of the city migrating south to the neighbouring South Africa. Water shortages due to lack of expansion in facilities and supplies have become steadily more acute since 1992. Cholera broke out in 2008. Though the city is the centre of the southern population generally categorized as the Matebele, the composition of the city is made up of people from all over the country. The Central Business District has the widest roads which were deliberately made so to accommodate the carts that were used as a primary means of transport back when the town was planned and erected.

Bulawayo is nicknamed the "City of Kings" or "kontuthu ziyathunqa"—a Ndebele phrase for "smoke arising". This name arose from the city's historically large industrial base and specifically draws from the large cooling towers of the coal powered electricity generating plant situated in the city centre that once used to billow steam and smoke over the city. [6] The majority of Bulawayo's population belongs to the Ndebele ethnic and language group (otherwise known as Northern Ndebele). [7]




NoSuburb/locationOrigin of name
1AscotAdjoining the Bulawayo Ascot race-course
2BarbourfieldsThe suburb was named after a former mayor, H. R. Barbour, who during the colonial era was greatly interested in the welfare of the indigenous people. [8] There is a place called Barbour in Argyll & Bute. Barbour is a Scottish family name, though it was apparently first recorded on the English side of the border, in Cumberland and Northumberland. The father of Scottish vernacular poetry, John Barbour (1320–1395), is best remembered for his epic poem "The Brus", telling the story of King Robert I. The origin of the name is occupational (a cutter of hair as well as an extractor of teeth during the Middle Ages).
3Barham GreenThe suburb was named after two people. The first was a former Bulawayo City Councillor (who later became an Alderman) Mrs. M. E. Barham, M.B.E. and the other was Rev. Rufus Green. They were critical in the establishment of this suburb. During the colonial Rhodesia era, it was designated for the Coloured community.
4Beacon HillAlso known as Beryl Drive, reference is made to fact that it is the high point of the suburbs and possesses the areas with the highest marking beacon at its summit.
5BellevueThe suburb was named after the estate name. It is sometimes spelled Belle Vue. The origin of this universally popular place name is ultimately French – "beautiful view".
7Belmont Industrial AreaThe area was named after a former Bulawayo City Engineer, Mr. Kinmont.
8BradfieldThe suburb was named after Edwin Eugene Bradfield, a pioneer.
9BurnsideThis area used to be a portion of former town council area and used to be part of Matsheumhlope Farms. The name is derived from the reference to the River Matsheumhlophe. "Burn" is a Scottish and northern English word for a stream.
10CementThis was named after the surrounding industrial area, responsible for the making of cement.
11Cowdray Park
13Donnington West
14DouglasdaleThe Douglas family, descendants of William de Douglas (late 12th century), was one of the most powerful in Scotland.
16EmakhandeniEmakhandeni is the isiNdebele name for Fort Rixon, which was the area where the regiment aMakhanda were located. eMakhandeni is the locative term.
17EmganwiniReference is made to the plentiful amarula trees in the vicinity.
20EntumbaneThis is where King Mzilikazi was buried. It is one of the dozens of high-density suburbs of Bulawayo, commonly referred to as the "Western Suburbs". The first disturbances that led to the Gukurahundi were sparked in Entumbane, hence the term "Impi ye Ntumbane" that refers to the disturbances.
22FamonaThe suburb was named after Famona, one of the daughters of King Lobengula. It means jealousy or envy must end (literally, "die").
23Fortunes Gate (including Mtaba Moya)The suburb's name comes from the original property name, and the gates are those of the original market building.
24Four WindsThe suburb name comes from the original property name; the first house was on top of a hill.
25GlencoeThis name is etched into the Scottish psyche as the bleak glen in the Highlands where, in 1692, a party of MacDonald men, women, and children were treacherously massacred by the Campbells, who were acting under government orders.
26GlengaryThe suburb was named after its estate name. The "Glengarry" bonnet is an oblong woollen cap, popular amongst pipe bands.
27Glenville (including Richmond South)The suburb was named after its estate name.
28Granite Park
29GreenhillThe suburb's name is a reference to scenery and topography.
30GwabalandaNamed after a Ndebele chief, Gwabalanda Mathe.
34HillcrestThe suburb's name comes from the reference to topography. It is Greenhill's crest.
35HillsideThe suburb's name is a reference to topography (Greenhill's slope).
36Hillside SouthThe suburb's name comes from its position as the south facing slope of Greenhill.
37Hume Park"Hume"/"Home" is a Lowland Scottish family name.
38Hyde ParkThe name originates from the large number of residents who trace their ancestry to England.
39IlandaNdebele name for the egret
40IminyelaThis is the name of a type of tree common in the area.
41IntiniThe name was given as a commemoration to the Mhlanga family, who originally set out with the Khumalo family under Mzilikazi as gratitude to their contribution to the Ndebele Kingdom, Mthwakazi. The Ntini is the totem of the Mhlanga-Mabuya clan.
42JacarandaThis is a reference to the jacaranda trees.
43Kelvin (Industrial area, includes North East and West)The area was named in reference to a suburb of Glasgow. It takes its name from the River Kelvin, a tributary of the River Clyde.
44KenilworthThe suburb was named after its estate name.
45KhumaloThe suburb was named after the Royal Clan of the Matabele. The Khumalo hockey stadium is here.
46Khumalo NorthThis is a reference to the position of Kumalo suburb.
48 Killarney
50LakesideLakeside is the stretch of water at the junction of the Old Essexvale Road and the road to the suburb of Waterford, and then on to Hope Fountain Mission.
51LobhengulaIt is named after the second and last Matabele King, Lobengula.
52LobenvaleThe suburb's name is derived from a combination of King Lobengula's name and Umguza Valley.
53LochviewThe suburb's name is in reference to Lakeside Dam and is famous in the city for its large Scottish residents and the Scottish style houses. According to the Bulawayo City Suburb Names website, the suburb was named in reference to Lakeside Dam.
54LuveveNamed after Ndebele chief Luveve; established in 1935
55MabuthweniThe suburb's name means "where the soldiers are"; the name was given in reference to a bachelors' quarters.
56MagwegweThe suburb name is named after Magwegwe, who was one of the significant people in King Lobengula's royal Bulawayo town.
57Magwegwe NorthThis is a reference to the position relative to that of Magwegwe.
58Magwegwe WestThis is a reference to the position relative to that of Magwegwe.
59MahatshulaMahatshula is named after one of the Ndebele Indunas, Mahatshula Ndiweni.
60 Makhokhoba The suburb got its name from the actions of Mr. Fallon, who used walk around with a stick. The name comes from the word "umakhokhoba" which was how the locals referred to Fallon, meaning "the little old man who walks with a stick". The word actually describes the noise of the stick hitting the ground, ko-ko-ko, or the doors. It is the oldest African dwelling in the city. Political activism was rife in the pre-ZAPU era.
61MalindelaThe suburb was named after the mother of Faluta, who was the mother of Lobengula, i.e., after Lobengula's maternal grandmother.
62ManningdaleIt is named after the developer of the suburb.
64MatsheumhlopeThe name comes from the association with the river ("White Stones"). White stones in Ndebele Proper and Zulu language are "amatshe amhlope".
65MatshobanaThe suburb was named after Matshobana, who was a chief of the Khumalo clan and more significantly he was the father of Mzilikazi, the founder of the Ndebele Kingdom.
66MontgomeryIt is named after Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, a decorated British Army commander.
67MontroseThe suburb was named by the estate developers, and street names are of many Cotswolds villages and towns.
69MphophomaThe name comes from a descriptive Ndebele name for the area, which was derived from the sound the Mpopoma River makes when flowing.
70MundaThe Tonga name for a plot of land on which people would farm
71MzilikaziThe suburb was named after the founder of uMthwakazi, King Mzilikazi. It is a stone's throw away from Barbourfields suburb, separated by a road called Ambulance Drive that leads to one of Zimbabwe's large hospitals, Mpilo.
72New LuveveReference is made to the suburb Luveve; see Luveve suburb.
74NewtonEstate name
75Newton WestReference to position (Newton)
76NguboyenjaNamed after Lobengula's son and heir
77NjubeNamed after one of Lobengula's sons
78 Nketa It is named after the traditional heritage site of Nketa Hill on which King Lobengula assembled his entire kingdom and divided its citizens according to cultural ethnicity and stages of incorporation into three groups: the Zansi which is Xhosa for "south", referring to the people who left the Zulu Kingdom originally; the Enhla or Nxele, which referred to the second mass incorporated group, which was the Swati, Pedi, and Sotho, with whom they settled in Mhlahlandela 1; the final group was the Hole /ˈxɒli, which constituted of the Shona, Kalanga and Bakwena. Most historians argued that this was clear evidence of Lobengula's lack of foresight and political tact as he was literally undoing what his father had spent his lifetime trying to achieve: a unified kingdom with a single identity.
79NkulumaneOne of the sons of King Mzilikazi and heir, founder of the Matebele kingdom
80North EndReference to the direction of the suburb
81North Lynne
82North TrenanceReference to position relative to that of Trenance
84NorthvaleFormer town council area; reference to position and (Umguza) valley
85Ntaba Moyo
86Orange Grove
87PaddonhurstNamed after Major Cecil Paddon, O.B.E. (pioneer)
88ParklandsEstate name; Park Lands estate A (portion of original grant to Dominican Sisters)
89ParkviewSituated on the location adjacent to the Centenary Park and proposed location of Bulawayo Zoo
90 Phelandaba Phelandaba translates as "the matter is concluded", a reference to the successful conclusion to the struggle for security.
91PhumulaPhumula means "a resting place", reference to the fact that many have built homes there to retire to.
92Phumula SouthNamed in reference to relative position of Pumula
93Queens ParkA reference to the Queen and the three main roads – Victoria, Alexandra and Elizabeth
94Queens Park EastA reference to the position relative to that of Queen Park
95Queens Park WestA reference to the position relative to that of Queen Park
97RangemoreThe suburb adopted the original estate name.
98RayltonThe suburb adopted the original estate name.
100RiversideDerived from the original estate name, which was in reference to the Umguza River
101Romney ParkThe suburb was named after George Romney, a British painter.
102SauerstownNamed after Dr. Han Sauer, original owner of the land
103Selbourne ParkNamed after the main road of Selbourne Avenue, now called L. Takawira Avenue, facing Ascot Mansions
104SizindaBattle regiment of Mzilikazi of the Matabele
106SouththwoldThe suburb was named by the estate developers, and street names are of many Cotswolds villages and towns.
107SteeldaleComposite name referring to industry
108SuburbsThis was the first suburb in Bulawayo and retained that name. The suburb has many tree-lined avenues and is where the Centenary Park, Natural History Museum and the Bulawayo Athletic Club are found.
109SunninghillAfter British royal residence (given to present Queen at time of marriage)
110SunnysideChosen from list of suggested names
111TegelaThe name is derived from a Ndebele word ukwethekela meaning "to visit".
112The Jungle
113ThorngroveThe suburb's name came from the large number of mimosa (thorn) trees in the area.
115TshabalalaThis is the "isibongo" or praise name for Lobengula's mother, Fulata, who was of Swazi extraction.
116Tshabalala ExtensionExtension in reference to the suburb of Tshabalala
117Umguza EstateNamed after the Umguza River which runs through it
118Upper RangemoreName in reference to Rangemore suburb
121West Somerton
125Windsor ParkNamed after English town or Guildford Castle grounds
126WoodlandsChosen from a list of suggested names
128Woodville Park
Retained the old estate name. [9] [10]
Bougainvillea outside a Bulawayo home Bougainvillea, Bulawayo.jpg
Bougainvillea outside a Bulawayo home


The city sits on a plain that marks the Highveld of Zimbabwe and is close to the watershed between the Zambezi and Limpopo drainage basins. The land slopes gently downwards to the north and northwest. The southern side is hillier, and the land becomes more broken in the direction of the Matobo Hills to the south.

Petrea flower in a garden in Bulawayo Petrea flowers, Bulawayo.jpg
Petrea flower in a garden in Bulawayo


Due to its relatively high altitude, the city has a subtropical climate despite lying in the tropics. Under the Köppen climate classification, Bulawayo features a semiarid climate (BSh). The mean annual temperature is 19.16 °C (66.44 °F), [11] similar to Pretoria at a similar altitude but almost 600 km (373 mi) farther north. As with much of southern and eastern Zimbabwe, Bulawayo is cooled by a prevailing southeasterly airflow most of the year and experiences three broad seasons: a dry, cool winter season from May to August; a hot dry period in early summer from late August to early November; and a warm wet period in the rest of the summer, early November to April. The hottest month is October, which is usually the height of the dry season. The average maximum temperature ranges from 21 °C (70 °F) in July to 30 °C (86 °F) in October. During the rainy season, daytime maxima are around 26 °C (79 °F). Nights are always cool, ranging from 8 °C (46 °F) in July to 16 °C (61 °F) in January.

The city's average annual rainfall is 594 mm (23 in), which supports a natural vegetation of open woodland, dominated by Combretum and Terminalia trees. Most rain falls in the December to February period, while June to August is usually rainless. Being close to the Kalahari Desert, Bulawayo is vulnerable to droughts and rainfall tends to vary sharply from one year to another. In 1978, 888 mm (35 in) of rain fell in the three months up to February (February 1944 is the wettest month on record with 368mm) while in the three months ending February 1983, only 84 mm (3 in) fell.

Climate data for Bulawayo
Record high °C (°F)36.7
Average high °C (°F)27.7
Daily mean °C (°F)21.8
Average low °C (°F)16.5
Record low °C (°F)10.0
Average rainfall mm (inches)117.8
Average rainy days1085311001481051
Average relative humidity (%)69717062565448434143556356
Mean monthly sunshine hours 244.9212.8251.1252.0279.0267.0288.3300.7288.0272.8237.0226.33,119.9
Mean daily sunshine hours
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization [12] NOAA (sun and mean temperature, 1961–1990) [13]
Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (extremes and humidity) [14]

Water supply

Bulawayo has good-quality tap water owing to the management of the water authorities, meeting international standards. Bulawayo does not recycle waste water but uses treated waste water for irrigation.

Bulawayo experiences water shortages in drought seasons due to the overwhelming increase in population versus the static and sometimes decreasing capacity of the reserve dams. The geographical factors causing water scarcity are rising temperatures, the area's high elevation and the arid environment of Matabeleland. Bulawayo provides residents with water by using a system of dams, treatment plants, and reservoirs.

Environmental and sanitation circumstances have detrimental effects on water quality. Sources such as groundwater and tap water are subject to pollution due to waste from burst sewers contaminating them. Samples taken from well water from the Pumula and Robert Sinyoka suburbs show that well water maintain levels of coliform higher than the Standards Association of Zimbabwe and World Health Organization give. [15] [16]


Population census controversy

Historical population
1992 620,936    
2002 676,650+9.0%
2012 653,337−3.4%
Source: Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT)

The population of Bulawayo, according to the 2012 national census, stood at 653,337; [17] however, this figure has been rejected by the Bulawayo City Council authority with Councillor Martin Moyo claiming an anti-Bulawayo conspiracy to under-fund projects in the city. [18] [19]

The population of the city according to metropolitan council sources is closer to 1.5 million and a more closer and estimated figure being 1.2 million.[ citation needed ] Reports have alluded to the de-industrialization of the city as the reason for its population decline, a claim which was rubbished as council officials referred to the fact that, in 1992 the city's population stood at 620,936. It had grown in the number of households due to urban expansion. City authorities also laid claim to the fact that the current water challenges facing the city were a result of an increasing population despite its economic challenges.


Bulawayo was known as the industrial hub of Zimbabwe. This has led to the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair being hosted in Bulawayo. It had a large manufacturing presence with large industries based here before Zimbabwe's economic collapse. However, some of these companies have either moved operations to Harare or have closed down — which has crippled Bulawayo's economy. Most factories are deserted and the infrastructure has since been left to deteriorate. The reason for the de-industrialization has largely been political, with some factories like Goldstar Sugars removing machinery to open new factories in Harare. When the Zimbabwean government passed indigenisation laws, some successful businesses were taken over by ZANU-PF supporters, only to close down a fews years later.

Many locals argue that it is because of marginalisation they experience against the government due to cultural differences between the Shona in Harare and the Ndebele in Bulawayo because the National railways of Zimbabwe (headquarters in Bulawayo) is a government parastatal and, as such, should have been thriving had it not been for embezzlement of funds by company executives who are believed to be Shona. The water issue is not new and had brought about the "help a thirsty Matabele" initiative of the 1970s and the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project which would put an end to the water issue in Matabeleland was drafted; however, this project was put on hold soon after independence.

These allegations have all been labeled hogwash by the relevant authorities. However, they have only fueled the secessionist initiative into a general opinion. The city still contains most of what remains of Zimbabwe's heavy industry and food processing capability. This includes a thermal power station that resumed operations in February 2011 after a capitalisation deal with the Government of Botswana where Bulawayo would supply 45 megawatts in three years.

Like many parts of the country, Bulawayo has for the past ten years[ when? ] seen a huge drop in service delivery and an increase in unemployment due to the resignations of people seeking better prospects across the border. Many people resorted to farming, mining, and the black market for sustenance, while others depended on the little foreign currency that would be sent by family in other countries. However, with the introduction of the multi-currency system in 2009, a new approach is seen by investors in the city who admire the already-available infrastructure; the huge workforce; and Bulawayo as great prospects. It is set to once again contribute greatly to the economy of Zimbabwe.

The city is served by Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport and the other international airport in the region being the Victoria Falls International Airport. Bulawayo is the capital of the bigger Matabeleland province which is arguable Zimbabwe's tourism paradise. Matabeleland boosts of Victoria Falls, Matopo National Park, Hwange National Park, Khami Ruins and a bigger share of Lake Kariba. The city is located within an excellent road and rail transport network linking the region to South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique.

The Bulawayo Centre Bulawayo Centre.jpg
The Bulawayo Centre

Important buildings and infrastructure

The Nesbitt Castle, Bulawayo Nesbittcastle2.jpg
The Nesbitt Castle, Bulawayo

These include:


Bulawayo is governed by the Bulawayo City Council, which is headed by the Mayor of Bulawayo.

Bulawayo City Council

Bulawayo City Council Offices Bulawayo city council headquarters.jpg
Bulawayo City Council Offices

Although controlled by the main opposition party MDC-T, the council has managed to stand out as the leading municipality in Zimbabwe in service delivery to its residents, through campaigns engineered by the city council such as the #mycitymypride campaign and #keepbyoclean on social media. These have been met with positive responses by residents and other stakeholders in the city. In recent years, Bulawayo has been widely perceived as the cleanest city in Zimbabwe due to the council's effective waste management strategy.[ citation needed ]

In 2015 the city of Bulawayo was praised for its town planning that, unlike major urban areas such as Harare and Chitungwiza, has not been marred by corruption and problems such as illegal settlements.

Attractions and amenities

Centenary Park Centinary Park.jpg
Centenary Park


Bulawayo has museums of national importance, including the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe, National Gallery, Bulawayo and the Bulawayo Railway Museum.


There are a number of parks in Bulawayo, including


Opening ceremony of the African Olympic Hockey Qualifiers 2011, Khumalo Hockey Stadium Opening ceremony of the African Olympic Hockey Qualifiers 2011.JPG
Opening ceremony of the African Olympic Hockey Qualifiers 2011, Khumalo Hockey Stadium

Bulawayo is home to the Queens Sports Club and Bulawayo Athletic Club, two of the three grounds in Zimbabwe where test match cricket has been played.

Bulawayo Golf Club, the first golf club in the city and country was established in 1895. The Matsheumhlope Stream cuts through the 18 hole course in the suburbs.

It is home to Hartsfield Rugby grounds where many international Test matches have been played. Hartsfield was developed by Reg Hart, after whom the grounds were named and on which field many of southern Africa's greatest rugby players have competed. It is home to two large football teams: Highlanders and Zimbabwe Saints. Other football teams include Bantu Rovers, Chicken Inn, How Mine, Quelaton, and Bulawayo City (R).

Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe Natural History Museum Zimbabwe Bulawayo.jpg
Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe

Other important sporting and recreational facilities include



14A class Engine no 515 on Ash Spur shunt, Bulawayo Station NRZ 14A class no 515.jpg
14A class Engine no 515 on Ash Spur shunt, Bulawayo Station

The city has a total road network of about 2100 kilometres; 70 percent was declared in 2017 in a poor condition. [20] The R2 road links Bulawayo with the Capital Harare.

The city has Bulawayo Station on the Harare-Gaborone main line and the Beitbridge Bulawayo Railway.

On the 1 November 2013, a new terminal of Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport, formerly known as Bulawayo Airport, was opened. [21]


Bulawayo is home to a large number of hospitals and other medical facilities. The United Bulawayo Hospitals, a public hospital network, operates Bulawayo Central Hospital, Richard Morris Hospital, Lady Rodwell Maternity Hospital, and Robbie Gibson Infectious Diseases Hospital. [22] Mpilo Central Hospital, is the largest hospital in Bulawayo, and the second-largest in Zimbabwe, and features a nursing school and midwifery school on its campus. Bulawayo is also home to Ingutsheni Hospital, which at 700 beds is the largest psychiatric hospital in Zimbabwe. Other hospitals in Bulawayo include All Saints Children's Hospital, Hillside Hospital, Mater Dei Hospital, the Nervous Disorders Hospital, St Francis Hospital, and Thorngrove Isolation Hospital.


In Bulawayo, there are 128 primary and 48 secondary schools. [23]

Primary schools

No.School Name
1. Amaswazi Primary School
2. Amaveni Primary School
3. Babambeni Primary School
4. Baines Infant School
5. Baines Junior
6. Barham Green Primary School
7. Carmel Primary School
8. Coghlan Primary School
9. Dominican Convent Primary School, Bulawayo
10. Dumezweni Primary School
11. Emakhandeni Primary School
12. Fairbridge Primary School
13. Fusi Primary School
14. Gampu Primary School
15. Godlwayo Primary School
16. Helemu Primary School
17. Henry Low Primary School
18. Hillside Infant School
19. Hillside Junior School
20. HQ 1 Brigade Primary School
21. Hugh Beadle Primary School
22. Induba Primary School
23. Infant School
24. Ingubo Primary School
25. Ingwegwe Primary School
26. Inkanyezi Primary School
27. Insukamini Primary School
28. Intunta Primary School
29. Inzwananzi Primary School
30. John Slaven Primary School
31. Josiah Chinamano Primary School
32. King George VI Memorial School
33. Kumalo Primary School
34. Lobengula Primary School
35. Lobengula Primary School
36. Lochview Primary School
37. Losikeyi Primary School
38. Lotshe Primary School
39. Lukhanyiso Primary School
40. Luveve Primary School
41. Mabhukudwana Primary School
42. Mafakela Primary School
43. Mafela Primary School
44. Magwegwe Primary School
45. Mahlabezulu
46. Mahlathini Primary School
47. Malindela Primary School
48. Manondwana Primary School
49. Manyewu Primary School
50. Maphisa Primary School
12. Masiyephambili Junior School
51. Masuku Primary School
52. Maswazi Primary School
53. Matshayisikova Primary School
54. Mawaba Primary School
55. Mazwi Primary School
56. Mbizo Primary School
57. McKeurten Primary School
58. Mganwini Primary School
59. Mgiqika Primary School
60. Mgombane Primary School
61. Mhali Primary School
62. Milton Junior School
63. Mkhithika Primary School
64. Moray Primary School
65. Mpumelelo Primary School
66. Mthombowesizwe Primary School
67. Mtshane Primary School
68. Mtshede Primary School
69. Mtshingwe Primary School
70. Mzilikazi Primary School
71. Newmansford Primary School
72. Ngwalongwalo Primary School
73. Nketa Primary School
74. Nkulumane Primary School
75. Ntabeni Primary School
76. Ntshamathe Primary School
77. Nyamande Primary School
78. Petra Primary School
79. Phelandaba SDA Primary School
80. Queen Elizabeth II Primary School
81. Rangemore Primary School
82. Robert Tradgold Primary School
83. Rose Camp Primary School
84. Senzangakhona Primary School
86. Sigombe Primary School
87. St. Bernards R.C Primary School
88. St. Patricks R.C Primary School
89. St. Thomas Aquinas Primary School
90. Tategulu Primary School
91. Tennyson Primary School
92. Thembiso Primary School
93. Thomas Rudland Primary School
94. Trenance Primary School
95. Waterford Primary School
96. Whitestone School
97. Woodville Primary School
98. Zulukandaba Primary School

Secondary and high schools

Schools outside Bulawayo

  • Falcon College – outskirts of Bulawayo, Esigodini
  • Plumtree School – 88 km (55 miles) from Bulawayo, in Plumtree
  • John Tallach High School
  • Inyathi High School – 70 km from Bulawayo
  • St. James Girls High - 80 miles from Bulawayo
  • George Silundika
  • Mtshabezi High School

Higher education

Bulawayo is home to a number of colleges and universities. The National University of Science and Technology, the second-oldest university in Zimbabwe, was established in Bulawayo in 1991. [24] Solusi University, a Seventh-day Adventist institution established in Bulawayo in 1894, gained university status in 1994. Additionally, the University of Zimbabwe and the Catholic University of Zimbabwe, both based in Harare, operate satellite campuses in Bulawayo.

Bulawayo is home to a number of institutes of technology and vocational colleges, including Bulawayo Polytechnic College, Speciss College, and the Zimbabwe School of Mines, [25] among others. The city is also home to several teachers' colleges, including the Blended Education College of Southern Africa, [26] Hillside Teachers' College, and the United College of Education.



The Chronicle, a state-owned daily newspaper, and its Sunday edition, The Sunday News, are published in Bulawayo. The Chronicle is the second-oldest newspaper in Zimbabwe, and along with The Herald, published in Harare, it is one of two major state-owned newspapers in the country. UMthunywa , a state-owned Ndebele-language newspaper, is also published in Bulawayo, where the majority of the population belongs to the Ndebele people. Private online publications like Bulawayo24 News and B-Metro are also based in Bulawayo.

Notable people

Sister cities

Bulawayo has six sister cities:

See also

Related Research Articles

The Gukurahundi was a series of atrocious massacres of Ndebele civilians carried out by the Zimbabwe National Army from early 1983 to late 1987. It derives from a Shona language term which loosely translates to "the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains".

Joshua Nkomo Zimbabwean politician

Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo was a Zimbabwean politician who served as Second Vice-President of Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe from 1987 to 1999. He was leader and founder of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) party, and a member of the Kalanga people.

Matabeleland North Province Province in Zimbabwe

Matabeleland North is a province in western Zimbabwe. With a population of 749,017 as of the 2012 census, it is the country's second-least populous province, after Matabeleland South, and is the country's least densely populated province. Matabeleland North was established in 1974, when the original Matabeleland Province was divided into two provinces, the other being Matabeleland South. In 1997, the province lost territory when the city of Bulawayo became its own province. Matabeleland North is divided into seven districts. Its capital is Lupane, and Victoria Falls and Hwange are its largest towns. The name "Matabeleland" is derived from the Matabele or Ndebele people, the province's largest ethnic group.

Matabeleland South Province Province in Zimbabwe

Matabeleland South is a province in southwestern Zimbabwe. With a population of 683,893 as of the 2012 census, it is the country's least populous province. After Matabeleland North, it is Zimbabwe's second-least densely populated province. Matabeleland South was established in 1974, when the original Matabeleland Province was divided into two provinces, the other being Matabeleland North. The province is divided into six districts. Gwanda is the capital, and the Beitbridge is the province's largest town. The name "Matabeleland" is derived from Ndebele, the province's largest ethnic group.

Gwanda Town in Zimbabwe

Gwanda is a town in Zimbabwe located 126 kilometers south east of the city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city. It is the capital of the province of Matabeleland South, one of the 10 administrative provinces in the country. Gwanda's largest and oldest suburb Jahunda derives its name from the original Kalanga speaking inhabitants of the region who were known as Majaunda, a name derived from the words "Ja" meaning to eat and "Unda" meaning to move or go; a reference to their nomadic pastoral way of living as observed by later inhabitants. Towns and districts surrounding Gwanda include Mbalabala, West Nicholson, Filabusi, Esigodini and Matobo.

Tsholotsho District administrative district in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe

Tsholotsho District is an administrative district in Matabeleland North Province, Zimbabwe. Its administrative centre is the business service centre of Tsholotsho which is located about 65 km north-west of Nyamandhlovu and 98 km north-west of Bulawayo as the bald eagle flies, in the Tsholotsho communal land. Districts around Tsholotsho include Lupane, Hwange, Umguza, and Bulilimamangwe District.

See also: 1880s in Zimbabwe, 1900 in Zimbabwe and Years in Zimbabwe.

Articles related to Zimbabwe include:

First Matabele War war

The First Matabele War was fought between 1893 and 1894 in modern day Zimbabwe. It pitted the British South Africa Company against the Ndebele (Matabele) Kingdom. Lobengula, king of the Ndebele, had tried to avoid outright war with the company's pioneers because he and his advisors were mindful of the destructive power of European-produced weapons on traditional Matabele impis attacking in massed ranks. Lobengula reportedly could muster 80,000 spearmen and 20,000 riflemen, armed with Martini-Henry rifles, which were modern arms at that time. However, poor training meant that these were not used effectively.

Stanlake John William Thompson Samkange (1922–1988) was a Zimbabwean historiographer, educationist, journalist, author, and African nationalist. He was a member of an elite Zimbabwean nationalist political dynasty and the most prolific of the first generation of black Zimbabwean creative writers in English.

Rudd Concession written concession for exclusive mining rights in Matabeleland, Mashonaland and other adjoining territories in what is today Zimbabwe

The Rudd Concession, a written concession for exclusive mining rights in Matabeleland, Mashonaland and other adjoining territories in what is today Zimbabwe, was granted by King Lobengula of Matabeleland to Charles Rudd, James Rochfort Maguire and Francis Thompson, three agents acting on behalf of the South African-based politician and businessman Cecil Rhodes, on 30 October 1888. Despite Lobengula's retrospective attempts to disavow it, it proved the foundation for the royal charter granted by the United Kingdom to Rhodes's British South Africa Company in October 1889, and thereafter for the Pioneer Column's occupation of Mashonaland in 1890, which marked the beginning of white settlement, administration and development in the country that eventually became Rhodesia, named after Rhodes, in 1895.

Military history of Zimbabwe

The military history of Zimbabwe chronicles a vast time period and complex events from the dawn of history until the present time. It covers invasions of native peoples of Africa, encroachment by Europeans, and civil conflict.

Patrick William Forbes was a leader of the paramilitary British South Africa Police, who commanded a force that invaded Matabeland in the First Matabele War.

<i>Shangani Patrol</i> (film) 1970 film by David Millin

Shangani Patrol is a war film based upon the non-fiction book A Time to Die by Robert Cary (1968), and the historical accounts of the Shangani Patrol, with Brian O'Shaughnessy as Major Allan Wilson and Will Hutchins as the lead Scout Frederick Russell Burnham. Also includes the song "Shangani Patrol" by Nick Taylor.

Mthwakazi is the traditional name of the proto-Ndebele and Ndebele kingdom that existed until the end of the 19th century within the area of today's Zimbabwe. Mthwakazi is widely used to refer to inhabitants of Matebeleland and Midlands provinces in Zimbabwe.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.


  1. Google Earth
  2. "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". hdi.globaldatalab.org. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  3. A.R.C.B. (1961). "Review: A Russian Look at Rhodesia". The Journal of African History. 2 (1): 161–162. doi:10.1017/s0021853700002279.
  4. Thorpe, C. Limpopo to Zambesi, London 1951 p.51
  5. "D.S.O." London Gazette. 19 April 1901. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  6. "Industrial empire Bulawayo reduced to a ghost town". mg.co.za. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  7. "isiNdebele for beginners. Northern Ndebele language in Africa". www.northernndebele.blogspot.com.
  8. "Scottish Place Names - Bulawayo, Zimbabwe". www.rampantscotland.com. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  9. Technologies, Numo Uno. "Bulawayo 1872.com :::: Southern African home". www.bulawayo1872.com.
  10. "Scottish Place Names - Bulawayo, Zimbabwe". www.rampantscotland.com.
  11. GISS Climate data, Average annual temperature 1971 to 2001
  12. "World Weather Information Service – Bulawayo". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  13. "Bulawayo Airport Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  14. "Klimatafel von Bulawayo (Goetz-Observatorium) / Simbabwe" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961–1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  15. Nyemba, Anesu; Manzungu, Emmanuel (2010). "The impact of water scarcity on environmental health in selected residential areas in Bulawayo City, Zimbabwe". Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C. 35 (13–14): 823–827. doi:10.1016/j.pce.2010.07.028 . Retrieved Nov 11, 2016.
  16. Nyemba, Anesu. "The impact of water scarcity on environmental health in selected residential areas in Bulawayo City, Zimbabwe." Physics and chemistry of the earth 35.13 (2010):823–827. Web.
  17. "Provincial Report – Bulawayo" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 September 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  18. "Bulawayo Census Outrage". chronicle.co.zw. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  19. "Storm Over Bulawayo Census Results". thestandard.co.zw. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  20. "70% of Bulawayo roads dilapidated". bulawayo24.com. 12 Feb 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  21. "Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport opens". bulawayo24.com. 2 November 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  22. "About Us". United Bulawayo Hospitals. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  23. Makoni, Albert (6 September 2007). "Health disaster looms in Bulawayo". The Zimbabwe Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 December 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
  24. Shizha, Edward; Kariwo, Michael T. (2012). Education and Development in Zimbabwe. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 10. ISBN   9789460916069.
  25. Zimbabwe School of Mines. Zimbabwe School of Mines http://www.zsm.ac.zw/zsmsite/index.php . Retrieved 19 April 2018.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. "First private teachers' college opens doors". Bulawayo24 News. 2019-02-17. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  27. "Twin City of Aberdeen Stavanger Norway". About Aberdeen. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  28. "Sister Cities". www.durban.gov.za. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  29. 1 2 "Bulawayo Engages Australia For Economic Development". ZimEye. 2018-12-02. Retrieved 2019-02-26.