The name Zimbabwe has been derived from the word dzimba-dza-mabwe from the Karanga dialect of the Shona language. Literally it means large houses of stone, referring to the houses of chiefs. Zimbabwe is situated between the Zambezi and Limpoo Rivers in Southern Africa. It is bordered by Mozambique to the east, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest and South Africa to the south. Its official name is the Republic of Zimbabwe and Harare is its capital. Having remained an unrecognized State for fourteen years, it achieved independence in April 1980 from the United Kingdom. Zimbabwe has sixteen languages, of which three, Shona, Sindebele, and English, are the most used. English is the official language, but it is spoken by only 2.5% of the white and mixed color minorities. Shona is the predominant language spoken by almost 70% of the Zimbabweans, while next only to Shona is the Sindebele, which is spoken by about 20% of the total population. Other minority languages include Nambva, Sotho, Ndau, Tsonga, Shangaan, Tsonga, Venda, and Karanga.
1. Solomon Mangwiro Mutswairo
Solomon Mangwiro Mutswairo was born on April 26, 1924 at Zawu in the Mazoe district of Rhodesia and died on November 2005 in Zimbabwe. He belonged to the Zezuru people of central Zimbabwe. He is one of the most famous Zimbabwean novelists and poets. He is best known for writing the National Anthem of Zimbabwe. He received his PhD. from Howard University, USA in 1978 after the submission of his doctoral dissertation, Oral Literature in Zimbabwe: An Analytical-Interpretive. His first novel, Fesco, was written in the Shona language and was very popular among the masses. It was even taught in schools but the Government of Rhodesia banned it in 1960. Mutswairo has written in poetry and prose, the former being more in an English style and the later in the local style. In addition to the National anthem, Mutswairo’s notable works include Feso, Washington, Zimbabwe: Prose and Poetry, Mapondera, Soldier of Zimbabwe, Chaminuka, Prophet of Zimbabwe, and Introduction to Shona Culture.
2. Wilbur Addison Smith
Wilbur Addison Smith was born on January 9, 1933 at Kabwe in Zambia. He said about his father, ‘My father was a tough man…I don’t think he ever read a book in his life, including mine’. He spent his childhood at his father’s cattle ranch comprising of 25,000 acres of forests and savannah. He received his early education at Cordwalles Preparatory School in Natal. While working at Salisbury Inland Revenue, he published his first successful novel, When the Lion Feeds. He has published more than 30 novels and is known as a best-selling writer. More than 120 million copies of his novels have been sold worldwide, and 22 million copies out of them were sold in Italy alone. His notable works include River God, Warlock, The Seventh Scroll, A Sparrow Falls, Golden Fox, A Time to Die, Triumph of the Sun, and Power of the Sword.
3. Catherine Buckle
Catherine Buckle was born in 1957, in Salisbury, Rhodesia. She is a well known Zimbabwean author. She graduated from the University of Zimbabwe in 1979 and worked as Librarian in the Harare Girls School. She came into prominence after the publication of her two books, African Tears and Beyond Tears, which reflect the ordeal she faced during the land redistribution program in 2000. This program was officially introduced in 1979 after the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement. It related to the distribution of land between the blacks and white minority. It was the most controversial political issue in Zimbabwe. She has published Victims: Rescuing the Stranded Animals of Zimbabwe’s Farm Invasions in 2009. She has also written four books for children.
4. Charles Lovemore Mungoshi
Charles Lovemore Mungoshi was born on December 2, 1947. He is a well known Zimbabwean novelist, poet and writer of short stories. He writes both in English and Shona languages. His writing has a wide range, covering anti-colonial writing as well as stories for children. In 1992, he won the Commonwealth Writers Award and the Noma Award. His other two novels, one in English and the other in Shona, won him an International PEN Award in 1975. The University of Zimbabwe awarded him an honorary degree. His notable works include Coming of the Dry Season, Waiting for the Rain, Some Kind of Wounds and Inongova Njake Njake.
5. J. Nozipo Maraire
J. Nozipo Maraire was born at Mangula in Zimbabwe, in 1964. She is a neurosurgeon and a novelist. She was educated at Harvard University and The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. She published her novel Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter in 1996 and it was evaluated as a ‘Notable Book of the Year’ by New York Times and as the bestseller by Boston Globe. She is a known public speaker and has addressed as guest speaker at various literary forums including The Gutenberg Literary Festival. She is a director of the Rotary Foundation and has also worked for the World Health Organization.
6. Dambudzo Marechera
Dambudzo Marechera was born on June 4, 1952 in Rusape, Zimabway and died on August 18, 1987, Harare, Zimbabwe. He was a famous Zimbabwean poet and novelist. For various reasons, he was totally cut off from his family. Since his childhood, he had seen violence, racial discrimination, and poverty. He attended the University of Zimbabwe, but he was expelled on account of a clash over the syllabus. On similar grounds, he was also expelled from the New College, Oxford. His book, The House of Hunger, was awarded the Guardian fiction prize in 1979. His other notable works include Black Sunlight and The Black Insider.
7. Chenjerai Hove
Chenjerai Hove was born to a local chief on February 9, 1956 at Mazvihwa, Zimbabwe. He attended Kutama College, Maris Brothers Dete, The University of South Africa and the University of Zimbabwe. He is an exiled Zimbabwean novelist and poet. His novels reflect psychic and social problems in the backdrop of the War of Liberation in Zimbabwe. He has written novels and poetry both in English and Shona languages. His notable works include the novels Bones, Shadow, and Ancestors. His notable poetry includes Up In Arms, Red Hills of Home and Blind Moon. He has also written stories for children. He has won many awards including the German-Africa Prize for literary contributions to freedom of expression.
8. John Eppel
John Eppel was born on September19, 1947 in Lydenburg, South Africa. In his childhood, he moved to Collen Bawn, a small mining town in Zimbabwe. He received his early education at Milton High School in Bulawayo and was later on educated at the University of Natal in South Africa, where he received his Masters degree in English. He has authored thirteen books and many of his works are taught in many African countries. His poetry book Spoils of War won him the Ingrid Jonker Prize. He was awarded the MNet Prize in 1994 for his novel D G G Berry’s the Great North Road.
9. Brian Chikwava
Brian Chikwava is a Zimbabwean writer who is based in London and writes in English. He won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2004 for his short story Seventh Street Alchemy. His first novel Harare North was published in 2009 and received positive reviews. Fitzgerald of New Statesman commented that ‘in bringing to life the plight of those often marginalized by mainstream society, [he] has opened up a bleak, yet urgently important, social landscape’. Trevor Lewis of The Sunday Times commented ‘Chikwava has created a compelling protagonist, whose back-to-front English and spiky argot throw up sly, acidly comic observations’.
10. Dr. Jacob Wilson Chikuhwa
Dr. Jacob Wilson Chikuhwa is a Zimbwean author and historian. In 1959 Edgar Whitehead’s government banned the African National Congress and arrested hundreds of its leaders and members including Dr. Jacob Wilson Chikuhwa. Jacob Chikuhwa was a member of the Youth League which resisted the minority rule. After his release, he moved to Zambia and from there to the Soviet Union where he studied economics and International Relations at the Kiev Institute of National Economy in Ukraine. He is the author of six books on Zambia, including his notable work Zimbabwe at the Crossroads.
Zimbabwe is one of the 48 landlocked countries of the world, which are deprived of the sea resources. Paul Collier, author of the book The Bottom Billion, argues that being landlocked in a poor geographic neighborhood is one of four major development “traps” by which a country can be held back. ‘If you are coastal, you serve the world; if you are landlocked, you serve your neighbors.’ The British Novelist Doris Lessing won the Nobel Prize for her novel The Grass is Singing, which was written in the Rhodesian or Zimbabwean ground. The Shona culture and the depravity arising from its being landlocked has influenced the writings of most of its notable authors.