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Harare montage.png
Clockwise, from top: Harare skyline; Parliament of Zimbabwe (front) and the Anglican Cathedral (behind); Heroes Acre monument; New Reserve Bank Tower; downtown Harare; Jacaranda trees lining Josiah Chinamano Avenue
Coat of arms of Harare.svg
Coat of arms
Sunshine City, H Town
  • Pamberi Nekushandira Vanhu  (Shona)
  • "Forward with Service to the People"
Zimbabwe - Harare.svg
Location of Harare Province in Zimbabwe
Coordinates: 17°49′45″S31°3′8″E / 17.82917°S 31.05222°E / -17.82917; 31.05222 Coordinates: 17°49′45″S31°3′8″E / 17.82917°S 31.05222°E / -17.82917; 31.05222
Country Zimbabwe
Province Harare
Incorporated (city)1935
Renamed Harare1982
   Mayor Herbert Gomba [1]
   City and Province 960.6 km2 (370.9 sq mi)
1,490 m (4,890 ft)
   City and Province 1,606,000
  Density2,540/km2 (4,330/sq mi)
1,619,000 [2]
Demonym(s) Hararean
Time zone UTC+2 (CAT)
Area code(s) 4
Climate Cwb
Website hararecity.co.zw
Dialling code 4 (or 04 from within Zimbabwe)

Harare ( /həˈrɑːr/ ; [3] officially Salisbury until 1982) [4] is the capital and most populous city of Zimbabwe. The city proper has an area of 960.6 km2 (371 mi2) and an estimated population of 1,606,000 in 2009, [5] with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area in 2006. Situated in north-eastern Zimbabwe in the country's Mashonaland region, Harare is a metropolitan province, which also incorporates the municipalities of Chitungwiza and Epworth. [6] The city sits on a plateau at an elevation of 1,483 metres (4,865 feet ) above sea level and its climate falls into the subtropical highland category.

Capital city primary governing city of a top-level (country) or first-level subdivision (country, state, province, etc) political entity

A capital city is the municipality exercising primary status in a country, state, province, or other administrative region, usually as its seat of government. A capital is typically a city that physically encompasses the government's offices and meeting places; the status as capital is often designated by its law or constitution. In some jurisdictions, including several countries, the different branches of government are located in different settlements. In some cases, a distinction is made between the official (constitutional) capital and the seat of government, which is in another place.

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.

Mashonaland region in northern Zimbabwe and home of the Shona people

Mashonaland is a region in northern Zimbabwe. It is the native place of the Shona people.


The city was founded in 1890 by the Pioneer Column, a small military force of the British South Africa Company, and named Fort Salisbury after the British prime minister Lord Salisbury. Company administrators demarcated the city and ran it until Southern Rhodesia achieved responsible government in 1923. Salisbury was thereafter the seat of the Southern Rhodesian (later Rhodesian) government and, between 1953 and 1963, the capital of the Central African Federation. It retained the name Salisbury until 1982, when it was renamed Harare on the second anniversary of Zimbabwean independence.

Pioneer Column military force of the British South Africa Company

The Pioneer Column was a force raised by Cecil Rhodes and his British South Africa Company in 1890 and used in his efforts to annex the territory of Mashonaland, later part of Southern Rhodesia.

The British South Africa Company was established following the amalgamation of Cecil Rhodes' Central Search Association and the London-based Exploring Company Ltd which had originally competed to exploit the expected mineral wealth of Mashonaland but united because of common economic interests and to secure British government backing. The company received a Royal Charter in 1889 modelled on that of the British East India Company. Its first directors included the Duke of Abercorn, Rhodes himself and the South African financier Alfred Beit. Rhodes hoped BSAC would promote colonisation and economic exploitation across much of south-central Africa, as part of the "Scramble for Africa". However, his main focus was south of the Zambezi, in Mashonaland and the coastal areas to its east, from which he believed the Portuguese could be removed by payment or force, and in the Transvaal, which he hoped would return to British control.

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury British politician

Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury,, styled Lord Robert Cecil before 1865, Viscount Cranborne from June 1865 until April 1868, and Lord Salisbury until his death, was a British statesman, serving as Prime Minister three times for a total of over thirteen years. A member of the Conservative Party, he was the last Prime Minister to head his full administration from the House of Lords.

Harare is Zimbabwe's leading political, financial, commercial, and communications centre, as well as a trade centre for tobacco, maize, cotton, and citrus fruits. Manufacturing, including textiles, steel, and chemicals, are also economically significant, as is local gold mining. The University of Zimbabwe, the country's oldest university, is located in Harare, as are several other colleges and universities. The city is home to Harare Sports Club, the country's main Test cricket ground, as well as Dynamos F.C., the country's most successful association football team. Harare's infrastructure and government services have worsened in recent years, and the city has been ranked as one of the least livable cities out of 140 assessed. [7]

Tobacco agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana

Tobacco is a product prepared from the leaves of the tobacco plant by curing them. The plant is part of the genus Nicotiana and of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. While more than 70 species of tobacco are known, the chief commercial crop is N. tabacum. The more potent variant N. rustica is also used around the world.

Maize Cereal grain

Maize, also known as corn, is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. The leafy stalk of the plant produces pollen inflorescences and separate ovuliferous inflorescences called ears that yield kernels or seeds, which are fruits.

Cotton plant fiber from the genus Gossypium

Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus Gossypium in the mallow family Malvaceae. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. Under natural conditions, the cotton bolls will increase the dispersal of the seeds.


Colonial and UDI period (1890–1979)

The Pioneer Column hoists the Union Jack on the kopje overlooking the city, 13 September 1890 Hoisting the flag at Fort Salisbury.png
The Pioneer Column hoists the Union Jack on the kopje overlooking the city, 13 September 1890

The Pioneer Column, a military volunteer force of settlers organised by Cecil Rhodes, founded the city on 12 September 1890 as a fort. [8] They originally named the city Fort Salisbury after The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, then British prime minister, and it subsequently became known simply as Salisbury. The Salisbury Polo Club was formed in 1896. [9] It was declared to be a municipality in 1897 and it became a city in 1935.

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.

The area at the time of founding of the city was poorly drained and earliest development was on sloping ground along the left bank of a stream that is now the course of a trunk road (Julius Nyerere Way). The first area to be fully drained was near the head of the stream and was named Causeway as a result. This area is now the site of many of the most important government buildings, including the Senate House and the Office of the Prime Minister, now renamed for the use of the President after the position was abolished in January 1988. [10]

President of Zimbabwe Wikimedia list article

The President of Zimbabwe is the head of state of Zimbabwe, elected by direct universal suffrage using a two-round system.

Salisbury was the capital of the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia from 1923, and of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 1953 to 1963. Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front government declared Rhodesia independent from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965, and proclaimed the Republic of Rhodesia in 1970. Subsequently, the nation became the short-lived state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, it was not until 18 April 1980 that the country was internationally recognised as independent as the Republic of Zimbabwe.

In the British Empire, a self-governing colony was a colony with an elected government in which elected rulers were able to make most decisions without referring to the colonial power with nominal control of the colony. Most self-governing colonies had responsible government.

Southern Rhodesia self-governing British colony from 1923 to 1980

The Colony of Southern Rhodesia was a self-governing British Crown colony in southern Africa. It was the predecessor state of what is now Zimbabwe.

Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland former country in Africa

The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was a federal semi-Dominion that consisted of three southern African territories—the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia and the British protectorates of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland—between 1953 and 1963.

Post-independence (1980–98)

The name of the city was changed to Harare on 18 April 1982, the second anniversary of Zimbabwean independence, taking its name from the village near Harare Kopje of the Shona chief Neharawa, whose nickname was "he who does not sleep". [11] Prior to independence, "Harare" was the name of the black residential area now known as Mbare.

Economic difficulties and hyperinflation (1999–2008)

In the early 21st century Harare has been adversely affected by the political and economic crisis that is currently plaguing Zimbabwe, after the contested 2002 presidential election and 2005 parliamentary elections. The elected council was replaced by a government-appointed commission for alleged inefficiency, but essential services such as rubbish collection and street repairs have rapidly worsened, and are now virtually non-existent. In May 2006 the Zimbabwean newspaper the Financial Gazette , described the city in an editorial as a "sunshine city-turned-sewage farm". [12] In 2009, Harare was voted to be the toughest city to live in according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's livability poll. [13] The situation was unchanged in 2011, according to the same poll, which is based on stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. [14]

Operation Murambasvina

In May 2005 the Zimbabwean government demolished shanties and backyard cottages in Harare and the other cities in the country in Operation Murambatsvina [15] ("Drive Out Trash"). It was widely alleged[ weasel words ] that the true purpose of the campaign was to punish the urban poor for supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and to reduce the likelihood of mass action against the government by driving people out of the cities.[ citation needed ] The government claimed it was necessitated by a rise of criminality and disease.[ citation needed ] This was followed by Operation Garikayi/Hlalani Kuhle (Operation "Better Living") a year later which consisted of building concrete housing of poor quality.[ citation needed ]


In late March 2010, Harare's Joina City Tower was finally opened after 14 years of on-off construction, marketed as Harare's new Pride. [16] Initially, uptake of space in the tower was low, with office occupancy at only 3% in October 2011. [17] By May 2013, office occupancy had risen to around half, with all the retail space occupied. [18]

The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Harare as the world's least liveable city out of 140 surveyed in February 2011, [19] rising to 137th out of 140 in August 2012. [20]

Future plans

During late 2012, plans to build a new capital district in Mt. Hampden, about twenty kilometres (12 mile s) north-west of Harare's central business district, were announced and illustrations shown in Harare's daily newspapers. The location of this new district would imply an expansion into Zvimba District. The plan generated varied opinions. [21] [ needs update ]

In March 2015, Harare City Council planned a two-year project to install 4,000 solar streetlights, at a cost of $15 million, starting in the central business district. [22]

In November 2017, the biggest demonstration in the history of Zimbabwe was held in Harare in a bid ensure former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe would resign from power.



The city sits on one of the higher parts of the Highveld plateau of Zimbabwe at an elevation of 1,483 metres (4,865 feet). The original landscape could be described as a "parkland". [23]


The Northern and North Eastern suburbs of Harare are home to the more affluent population of the city including former president Robert Mugabe who lives in Borrowdale Brooke. [24] These northern suburbs are often referred to as 'dales' because of the common suffix -dale found in some suburbs such as Avondale, Greendale and Borrowdale. The dwellings are mostly low density homes of 3 bedrooms or more and these usually are occupied by families.[ citation needed ]


Jacaranda trees in Montagu Ave, Salisbury in 1975 Jacaranda trees in Montagu Ave, Harare, Zimbabwe in 1975.jpg
Jacaranda trees in Montagu Ave, Salisbury in 1975

Under the Köppen climate classification, Harare has a subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cwb), an oceanic climate variety. Because the city is situated on a plateau, its high altitude and cool south-easterly airflow cause it to have a climate that is cooler and drier than a tropical or subtropical climate.

The average annual temperature is 17.95 °C (64.3 °F), rather low for the tropics. This is due to its high altitude position and the prevalence of a cool south-easterly airflow. [25]

There are three main seasons: a warm, wet season from November to March/April; a cool, dry season from May to August (corresponding to winter in the Southern Hemisphere); and a hot, dry season in September/October. Daily temperature ranges are about 7–22 °C (45–72 °F) in July (the coldest month), about 15–29 °C (59–84 °F) in October (the hottest month) and about 16–26 °C (61–79 °F) in January (midsummer). The hottest year on record was 1914 with 19.73 °C (67.5 °F) and the coldest year was 1965 with 17.13 °C (62.8 °F).

The average annual rainfall is about 825 mm (32.5 in) in the southwest, rising to 855 mm (33.7 in) on the higher land of the northeast (from around Borrowdale to Glen Lorne). Very little rain typically falls during the period May to September, although sporadic showers occur most years. Rainfall varies a great deal from year to year and follows cycles of wet and dry periods from 7 to 10 years long. Records begin in October 1890 but all three Harare stations stopped reporting in early 2004. [26]

The climate supports a natural vegetation of open woodland. The most common tree of the local region is the Msasa Brachystegia spiciformis that colours the landscape wine red with its new leaves in late August. Two introduced species of trees, the Jacaranda and the Flamboyant from South America and Madagascar respectively, which were introduced during the colonial era, contribute to the city's colour palette with streets lined with either the lilac blossoms of the Jacaranda or the flame red blooms from the Flamboyant. They flower in October/November and are planted on alternative streets in the capital. Also prevalent is Bougainvillea.

Climate data for Harare (1961–1990, extremes 1897–present)
Record high °C (°F)33.9
Average high °C (°F)26.2
Daily mean °C (°F)21.0
Average low °C (°F)15.8
Record low °C (°F)9.6
Average precipitation mm (inches)190.8
Average precipitation days1714105210115101682
Average relative humidity (%)76777267626055504548637362
Mean monthly sunshine hours 217.0190.4232.5249.0269.7264.0279.0300.7294.0285.2231.0198.43,010.9
Mean daily sunshine hours
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization, [27] NOAA (sun and mean temperature, 1961–1990), [28]
Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (humidity, 1954–1975), [29] Meteo Climat (record highs and lows) [30]

International venue

Harare has been the location of several international summits such as the 8th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (6 September 1986) and Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1991. [31] The latter produced the Harare Declaration, dictating the membership criteria of the Commonwealth. In 1998 Harare was the host city of the 8th Assembly of the World Council of Churches. [32]

In 1995, Harare hosted most of the 6th All-Africa Games, sharing the event with other Zimbabwean cities such as Bulawayo and Chitungwiza. It has hosted some of the matches of 2003 Cricket World Cup which was hosted jointly by Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Several of the matches were also held in Bulawayo. Harare also hosted the ICC Cricket 2018 World Cup Qualifier matches in March 2018. [33]

The city is also the site of one of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), which has featured such acclaimed artists as Cape Verdean singer Sara Tavares. [34]

Reality TV shows shot in Harare include Battle of the Chefs: Harare, which was screened by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.


Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport Harare International Airport.jpg
Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport

The public transport system within the city includes both public and private sector operations. The former consist of ZUPCO buses and National Railways of Zimbabwe commuter trains. Privately owned public transport comprised licensed station wagons, nicknamed emergency taxis until the mid-1990s, when they were replaced by licensed buses and minibuses, referred to officially as commuter omnibuses (Makombi).[ citation needed ]

The National Railways of Zimbabwe operates a daily overnight passenger train service that runs from Harare to Mutare and another one from Harare to Bulawayo. Harare is linked by long distance bus services to most parts of Zimbabwe.

The largest airport of the country, the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, serves Harare.


Football is most popular among the people of Harare. Harare is home to Harare Sports Club ground. It has hosted many Test, One Day Internationals and T20I Cricket matches. Harare is also home to the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League clubs Dynamos F.C.,Highlanders FC, Harare City, Black Rhinos F.C. and CAPS United F.C..

News and information

Residents are exposed to a variety of sources for information. In the print media, there is the Herald , Financial Gazette , Zimbabwe Independent , Standard, NewsDay , H-Metro, Daily News and Kwayedza. Online media outlets include ZimOnline , ZimDaily , Guardian, NewZimbabwe , Times , Harare Tribune , Zimbabwe Metro , The Zimbabwean , The Zimbabwe Mail and many others; however, a number of factors have combined to effectively eliminate all media except those controlled by the state. Therefore, it is difficult to find a news source that is not bribed or influenced by the government.[ citation needed ]

Notable landmarks and institutions

Sister cities

Harare has co-operation agreements and partnerships with the following towns: [36]

See also

Related Research Articles

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

Not to be confused with NMB Bank Nepal, a commercial bank in Nepal


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