This map plots the settings and references in Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa
To start exploring, click a red pin
Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, is a mid-sized landlocked country at the heart of Southern Africa. Rhodesia was so named by British settlers in 1895, in honour of the imperialist-adventurer Cecil Rhodes. Two main ethnic groups held the land before the settlers' arrival: the Shona and the Ndebele (Matabele), an offshoot of the Zulus who arrived in the area in 1838.
The Limpopo River to the south forms the border with South Africa; in the northwest the Zambezi River, incorporating Lake Kariba and the Victoria Falls, forms the border with Zambia. A range of mountains and highlands including Mt Inyangani (2,592m/8,504ft) and the Chimanimani Mountains mark the eastern border.
Although it's been years since I lived here, Chimanimani (which used to be called Melsetter, after the Orkney town) remains stuck in my mind as that central reference point from which all other places radiate. It lies in an isolated valley along the eastern border with Mozambique, nestled in the crook of a winding range of glittering granite mountains from which the village now takes its name. Peter Godwin Zimbabwe Situation report
Peter Godwin was asked, "What is your favourite place in the world?"
Probably still on the Chimanimani Mountains - gazing up at the jagged granite peaks above, wreathed often with wisps of clouds, and sweeping views down over the eastern highlands at the rolling countryside; or further north from World's View in Nyanga; or maybe in late summer, the hypnotic sight from Devil's cataract of the might Zambezi river in full flow, tumbling over the lip of Victoria Falls. Pan Macmillan Interview, 2005
Umtali, now called Mutare, is Zimbabwe's fourth largest city, with 170,000 people.
Close to the border with Mozambique, the town began life as a fort. Gold was found nearby, attracting the first white settlers, and in 1896 a railway was constructed between Bulawayo and Beira on the coast, passing through the Mutare area and raising the importance of the new town.
Today, the city is sometimes seen as the Gateway to the Eastern Highlands.
It was founded in 1890 as a British fort, and named after the Prime Minister of the day. Between 1953 and 1963 it was the capital of all the territory now forming modern Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.
Today, Harare's population is estimated at 1.6 million.
The fortified Ilha de Moçambique, now a Unesco World Heritage site, is a former Portuguese trading-post on the route to India. The island was a major Arab port (the name comes from one-time resident Musa Al Big) and boatbuilding centre long before Vasco da Gama visited in 1498. The Portuguese established a port and naval base as early as 1507. The Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte, built in 1522, is considered the oldest European building in the southern hemisphere.
Great Zimbabwe is near Masvingo, in Southeastern Zimbabwe.
Filabusi was founded in 1899 as a mining settlement centred around Fred mine. The name is a European take on the Ndebele name Mfilubuso which means ‘to create a face’. The possible reason for this name comes from a story that a local was killed by an arrow that struck him in the face.
The design team included seven architects from North Korea. From the air, the cemetary is meant to resemble an AK-47 rifle, the most potent weapon in the guerrilla war for independence: the central stairway is the barrel, the obelisk is the bayonet, and the graves are the bullets.
The Fifth Brigade set up a concentration camp in Antelope, where they systematically killed their prisoners. An eyewitnesses told of people being shot, beaten and burned to death.
Interrogations were conducted by the Central Intelligence Organisationand Five Brigade, beatings began at 5.30 am, and electric shocks, water torture,and sexual mutilation were used. Trucks visited the camp nightly, corpses were tipped down disused mine-shafts in the area, and hand grenades were thrown after them. Five Brigade created terror in a sustained and systematic way. Indiscriminate killing was part of the system. All the villagers in Tshomwina, in January-February 1983, were beaten and five were killed, of whom one, badly mutilated, took eight days to die, bereft of medical help.
- excerpt from Zimbabwe's Presidential Elections 2002: Evidence, Lessons and Implications, editor: Henning Melber