|Area||390,580 sq km|
|Population||12,619,600 (est 2012)|
|Languages||English, Shona, Sindebele|
|Religions||Syncretic beliefs (Christian/indigenous) 50%. Christianity 25%. Indigenous beliefs 24%. Muslim and other 1%.|
|Life expectancy||51.82 (est 2012)|
Africa’s Paradise, better known as Zimbabwe, is a country of vast blue skies, rich red earth, wide-open spaces and unequalled wildlife. Yet, beneath the spectacular beauty is a nation torn apart by division, greed and mismanagement.
Originally a British colony named Rhodesia, named after Cecil Rhodes, it was not until 1965 that the white minority administration of Rhodesia declared themselves independent from Britain.
Opposition to white supremacy intensified especially between the Rhodesian Security Forces and the guerillas – the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army and the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army.
In 1979, in an attempt to negotiate an end to the civil war, the British intervened. An election was held in 1980 and was won by Robert Mugabe, a committed Marxist and member of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front. Guerilla warfare continued in the country for the next 20 years.
Finally, in 2008, in an attempt for peace, a power-sharing agreement was eventually reached in which Mugabe remained president and Tsvangiri, a member of the Movement for Democratic Change party became prime minister.
The land-acquisition law passed in 2000 has disposed about 3,000 farmers of their land resulting in a desperate food shortage, famine and a shattered economy.
It is estimated that unemployment stands at more than 80 per cent. The country’s food insecurity is a major problem affecting more than five million Zimbabweans.
Over 1.1 million children have been orphaned by Aids. Life expectancy is 37 years for men and 34 for women – the lowest life expectancy in the world.
BMS involvement in Zimbabwe
BMS works with several different Christian organisations. Brad and Ruth Biddulph are located in Bulawayo where they are using their skills in construction, fundraising and youth work, to serve with some local charities. In summer 2012 Joe and Lois Ovenden will move to Zimbabwe to work alongside BMS partners in various community and church projects amongst marginalised communities.
Zimbabwe is situated on a high plateau in south central Africa and is a land-locked country at the base of the African continent. The country’s north eastern border is formed by the Zambezi River (where the Victoria Falls are found) and the Limpopo River in the south.
Around 71 per cent of Zimbabweans claim to be Christian. However, Christianity is often blended with other indigenous beliefs.
There is strong church growth in Zimbabwe with the number of evangelicals rising from 1.3 million to three million. There are over 140,000 Baptists in Zimbabwe who belong to more than 550 churches which make up four different Baptist Conventions/Unions.