The Achievements and Challenges of Zimbabwe
(These lessons were originally posted on the Odyssey Worktrek website)


The Odyssey is extremely grateful to the teachers at Bay Breeze Educational Resources for contributing these lessons for your use! Special thanks go to Maureen Carroll and Laurel Blaine.


 

Learning objectives for students



This unit is intended to focus on some of those aspects of Zimbabwean life and history that are of great significance to understanding the people of Zimbabwe today and their situation. By using or adapting the core lessons and activities, your students will learn about the following:

 

Students will be encouraged to develop a critical stance toward information. They will learn to evaluate evidence, consider sources, and study a variety of differing viewpoints. The goal for these lessons in the Teacher Zone is for students to develop an understanding of the culture of Zimbabwe and to develop critical thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation.


Lessons and activities for students


 


I. Introductory Activity - Zimbabwe Today

Overview:

Zimbabwe has a unique history. The country has been inhabited by various African tribes, controlled by a Royal Charter (becoming Rhodesia under the administration of the British South Africa Company), and colonized by the British. In 1953 Rhodesia became a federation. In1965 it became an outlaw state, when it declared its independence from the UK. A war of liberation was fought in the 1970's, and free elections were held in 1980.

The post-colonial years have been better than many people predicted. However, many Zimbabweans are still waiting for President Mugabe to fulfill some of his promises. This lesson looks at how successful democratic reform movements have been in Zimbabwe.

Objectives:

 

  • Students will gather information concerning the current situation in Zimbabwe.
  • Students will analyze and summarize the information.
  • Students will create a report based on the information they gathered.
  • Students will write a recommendation based on the reports.

 


Procedures:

1. Tell the class that the international banking community is looking into the possibility of investing money in Zimbabwe. Before they do this they want to access how effective democratic reform measures have been in Zimbabwe. The class will break into 5 groups to create a task force to investigate the current situation in Zimbabwe.

2. Some suggested websites to begin their investigations are:

Zimbabwe Independent Online
http://www.samara.co.zw/zimin/index.cfm

BBC News Online -Zimbabwe: Special Report
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/special_report/1998/12/98/zimbabwe/newsid_223000/223290.stm

World History Archives: History of Zimbabwe
http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/37/index-e.html

Business Day
http://www.bday.co.za/98/0331/business/b2.htm

TIME.com
http://cgi.pathfinder.com/time/magazine/1998/int/980216/file.mugabes_empty_baske19.html

3. Each team will be assigned one of four topics:

    a) The Economy
    b) Agriculture
    c) Education
    d) Women's Issues
    e) Racial issues

4. The student teams will take on the roles of task force members assigned to the project. The students will research their area and bring the information back to the whole class in a report format.

5. The class will discuss the reports and make a decision whether or not to invest funds in Zimbabwe.

6. Following the decision, students will write a report summarizing the information found by the task force, what the final decision was, and how they reached their decision.

 

Assessment:

Students will be evaluated on the quality of their written report.



II. Women's Journal

Overview:

Women have often been overlooked in the official recordings of world history. In this assignment students will read first -hand accounts of Zimbabwe women who lived through Zimbabwe's quest for independence.

Objectives:

  • Students will read first hand accounts of Zimbabwe women.
  • Students will synthesize the information in the accounts, and create a journal of their own based on the information.
  • Students will share and compare their written accounts with a partner.

 


Materials:

  • Mothers of the Revolution: Oral Testimony of Zimbabwean Women
    http://www.stg.brown.edu/projects/hypertext/landow/post/zimbabwe/miscauthors/mothers1.html

Procedures:

1. In the following activity students will read first hand accounts of pre-war, war, and post-war experiences of Zimbabwean women. Please review material from the website(see materials): Mothers of the Revolution: Oral Testimony of Zimbabwean Women.

2. Have students bind pages together to serve as a personal journal.

3. The class will read the first hand accounts, and create journal entries based on what they have read.

4. After students have completed their journals, students will partner with another student and share what they wrote. Ask students to think about how their entries are the same and different from their partners.

5. Students will write a final page in their journal.

This page will include the following:

  • What was the most surprising event you read about?
  • What was the saddest event?
  • What event made you the most angry?
  • What was your favorite entry in your journal? Why?
  • What did you think about this assignment?

Assessment:

Students will be evaluated on the quality of their written report.
 

III. Land Redistribution

Overview:

In Berlin, Germany, thousands of miles away from Africa, the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 decided how the African lands would be colonized. The conference heard not a single voice from the African natives. The British did not value the African nations boundaries, customs, religion or their rich cultural life; they did however, value their land. Today, after almost 20 years of land reform promises, white people still own 70% of the best land in Zimbabwe. This lesson looks at the history of land ownership in Zimbabwe, and where land reformation may be headed.

Objectives:

  • Students will develop an understanding of land ownership in Zimbabwe.
  • Students will analyze two songs written about Zimbabwe.
  • Students will create a statement detailing their opinions about land redistribution in Zimbabwe.

Procedures:


1. Using outside resources and the following web sites have students create a time line showing the history of land ownership in Zimbabwe.

 


2. After students have exhibited an understanding of the history of land ownership in Zimbabwe, copy and pass out to the students the following songs. The first song was written by Clem Tholett, a white Rhodesian.

 

    "Rhodesians Never Die"
    We'll preserve this nation
    For our Children's children
    Once you're Rhodesian no other land will do,
    We will stand tall in the sunshine
    With truth on our side,
    And if we have to go it alone,
    We'll go it alone with pride.

    We're all Rhodesians
    And we'll fight through thick and thin
    We'll keep our land a free land
    Stop the enemy coming in
    We'll keep them north of the Zambezi
    Till that river's running dry
    And this mighty land will prosper
    For Rhodesians never die.

     

The following song was sung by the Guerrillas.

    "Chimurenga Song"
    Hark!
    It Thunders!
    Smith! Our brothers and sisters
    Are living in the forests
    Because they are protecting our land
    Smith! Our brothers and sisters
    Are living in the forests
    Because they are fighting for our country.

    They would have wanted
    To sleep under a roof
    They would have wanted
    To till their lands
    But for the love of our land
    But for the love of our land

    They are fighting for our land
    They are fighting for our land.

(Smith refers to Ian Douglas Smith who controlled Rhodesian government for 15 years. Smith was quoted as saying, "I cannot see in my lifetime that the Africans will be sufficiently mature and reasonable to take over.")

3. It should be obvious from these songs that both groups of people feel entitled to certain lands in Zimbabwe. Generate a list of comments, questions, and feelings that the songs created in the students.

4. Blacks continue to press their ancestral rights to the land. White farmland holders are resistant to letting go of their land titles. Tell the class that they are going to decide the fate of land distribution in Zimbabwe.

5. Divide the class into three groups. (Pro land redistribution people, anti land redistribution people, and a panel that will hear the concerns of both groups)

6. The two land redistribution groups will create a statement voicing their opinions on the subject. A short question and answer period will follow each group's reading of their statement.

7. The two groups will read their statements to the panel. The panel will hear both sides of the argument, and return to the class with a formal written decision on the matter.

 

Assessment:

Students will be evaluated on the quality of their timeline, written report, and their ability to answer questions following the presentation of their statement.

IV. Lake Kariba and the Tonga Fishing People

Objective:

When the Kariba Dam was built on the Zambezi River in the late 1950'a, Operation Noah rescued and moved thousands of animals whose habitat had been flooded by the dam. But what happened to the twenty thousand Tonga people who had made their life along the Zambezi River? In this lesson students will consider the issues of progress Vs the impact of progress on indigenous peoples.

Objectives:

  • Students will examine the impact of development on indigenous tribes.
  • Students will compare and contrast the viewpoints of the people involved in the Kariba Dam project.
  • Students will compose postcards written from the point of view of the different groups affected by the project.

Procedures:

 

1. Read the following passage to the class:

For many years the Tonga people lived along both sides of the Zambezi River in North-Western Zimbabwe. The Tonga, a semi-nomadic people, led a secluded and rather peaceful existence. The river valley provided them with wild animals as well as fruits. The Zambezi River held a constant supply of fish.

In the 1950's government officials decided to flood the Tonga's lands to create a dam to produce hydroelectric power. Nyaminyami, the fish-like god of the Zambezi, and the Tonga's spears were no match for the armed policemen. The Tonga were displaced from the river valley and relocated to the higher, dry country. Without access to the river the Tonga people were now dependent on the hunting of wild animals. However, the government soon passed the Protection of Wildlife Act. The act required hunters to have permits in order to hunt. For the most part, the people could not afford to pay the hunting fees. Fishing on the newly created Lake Kariba, was similarly restricted. The Tonga, who had never farmed, were suddenly moved away from their homeland and expected to farm for their survival.

The Tonga, were now faced with another new experience…hunger. Meanwhile, five-star hotels, resorts, and safari camps were being built along the shores of Lake Kariba.

2. Discuss the preceding passage with the students. The following are a starting point for the discussion:

    a) What are some of the underlying issues in this situation?
    b) Identify some of the pros and con's of building the Kariba Dam.
    c) Do you think the dam should have been built at the expense of the Tonga people?
    d) Think of other instances where the benefits of technology have adversely affected the lives of people.
    e) Think of alternative routes that this project may have taken.
3. The following web sites contain photos and information about tourism at Lake Kariba. Students may use these sites to learn about the area.

Lake Kariba - I
http://urgento.gse.rmit.edu.au/incubator/africahp/zwe/zw5.htm
Lake Kariba - II
http://www.redsand.co.za/magazines/tourism/zimbabwe/editorial/05_lake_kariba/index.htm
Adventures in Zimbabwe
http://www.sallys-place.com/travel/africa/zimbabwe.htm
Katete Safari Lodge - Lake Kariba
http://www.africantravel.com/zim/katete.html

4. After reading these sites the class will compare and contrast how the people involved in the development of the area may view Lake Kariba compared to the native Tonga.

5. Students will write two postcards. One of the postcards will be from a tourist who has traveled to Lake Kariba on vacation. The other postcard will be from a Tonga native who is writing to a government representative in Harare.

Assessment:

Students will be evaluated on the quality of their postcards.
 

V. Great Zimbabwe
Objective:

Great Zimbabwe, a city-state built on the highland plateau area, existed from around 1300 to 1525. The early Shona created Great Zimbabwe using stones with no mortar. Great Zimbabwe was a predecessor of modern cities, as it included areas for public gatherings, markets, worship, housing and food storage. When the British arrived on the scene they refused to believe that Great Zimbabwe had been built by the ancestors of the Shona, wishing instead to believe that it was built by an ancient culture during biblical times. Years later, when scientists began to prove that Great Zimbabwe was indeed an ancient Shona city, the Rhodesian government passed laws to prevent the facts from becoming public knowledge.

Gold is the most likely reason for the development of this powerful city. Gold from the area found its way to the Indian Ocean where it was traded with the Arabs, Indian and Chinese traders. Some of the items that the inhabitants of Great Zimbabwe received in trade were glass beads, cloth and porcelain. In this lesson students will learn about the ancient city-state Great Zimbabwe. They will use this knowledge to create a brochure about the ancient city.



Objectives:

  • Students will gather information about Great Zimbabwe.
  • Students will be able to analyze and summarize the information.
  • Students will develop an appreciation for the ancient city-state Great Zimbabwe.
  • Students will create a brochure on the information they have gathered.

Procedures:

1.In the following activity, students will pursue a search for information about the city-state Great Zimbabwe.

Some suggested websites to begin their investigations are:

2. Students will find information on Great Zimbabwe. They will include the following topics in their search:

    a) Geographic Location
    b) The Rise of Great Zimbabwe
    c) The Role of Religion
    d) How Great Zimbabwe evolved from an Iron Age Agricultural Area
    e) Trade
    f) The Stone Buildings
    g) The Decline of Great Zimbabwe
3. The student teams will create a brochure for Great Zimbabwe. The brochure will include information from the topics listed above, as well as several drawings.

4. The class will share its finished products.

Assessment:

Students will be evaluated on the quality of their brochure.
 

VI. Ancestral Spirits

Overview:

Although more than 25% of Zimbabweans attend Christian churches, Zimbabweans have incorporated elements of their traditional practices in their beliefs. At the core of these traditions, is the importance of ancestral spirits, and their relationship in Zimbabwean's daily lives. In this lesson students will learn about the Shona's burial beliefs and traditions.

Objectives:

  • Students will gather information about death and dying in the Shona culture.
  • Students will develop an understanding of the beliefs of the Shona culture.
  • Students will create a story about a Shona burial based on the information they have learned.

Procedures:

1. In this activity students will read about Shona burial traditions on the following web site:

2. Explain to the class that a village member has died. Students will write a story about the event, incorporating what they have learned about death and dying in the Shona culture.

3. Tell the students to take notes on the details that they might want to include in their story.

4. Students will share their stories will the class.

 

Assessment:

Students will be evaluated on the quality of their written story.
 

VII. Zimbabwe's Past

Overview:

Many people believe Africa to be the birthplace of the human race. Some 20,000 years before Christ, a hunter-gatherer group known as the Khoisans inhabited the area. Around the fifth century AD Bantu-speaking (pastoralists) arrived and began pushing the Khoisans away from the area. When the Ndebele, a Zulu clan from the south, invaded the area in the nineteenth century, they established a territory to the west which became Matabeleland. The Arabs, followed by the Portuguese, were the first non-Africans to cross the Limpopo and the Zambezi rivers. However, it was the arrival of the British in the 19tth century that created major changes in the area. In this lesson students will learn about the different groups of people who have inhabited present day Zimbabwe.

Objectives:

  • Students will gather information about the inhabitants of Zimbabwe.
  • Students will categorize the information and place it on the chart.
  • Students will create a play based on the information that they gathered.
  • Students will summarize the information that was presented in the play in a brief report.

 

Procedures:

1.In the following activity students will gather information about the inhabitants of Zimbabwe. Students will work in teams for this activity.

Some suggested websites to begin their investigations are:

Ancient Africa
http://www.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/hum211/timelines/htimeline.htm
The Riddle of Great Zimbabwe
http://www.archaeology.org/9807/abstracts/africa.html
Hunting and Gathering
http://www.wsu.edu:8001/vwsu/gened/learn-modules/top_agrev/3-Hunting-and-Gathering/hunt-gathering1.html
History of Zimbabwe
http://www.mother.com/~zimweb/zim/int_hist.htm
Civilizations of Africa
http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CIVAFRCA/CIVAFRCA.HTM
Khoisan Tribe Info
http://khoisan.org/

2. Each team will be assigned one of following groups:

    a) The Khoisan
    b) The Bantu
    c) The Ndebele
    d) The British

3. The student teams will gather information regarding their particular group, and place the information on a chart.

4. The headings for the chart will include the following:

  • Agriculture
  • Class distinctions
  • Development of cities
  • Impact on natural resources or the environment
  • Accumulated wealth
  • Religion
  • Hi or low Birthrate
  • Domesticated animals
  • Attitude toward outsiders
  • Specialization of knowledge
  • Making of household objects
  • Soil erosion or deforestation
  • Other

5. Each group will use this information to create an act in a play that depicts the group they have been studying.

6. Based on the information learned in the play, students will write a brief report on the history of the Zimbabwe people from the Stone Age to the British colonization.

 

Assessment:

Students will be evaluated on the quality of their information sheet, and their one act play.




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