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Zimbabwe, officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked sovereign state located in southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers. It borders South Africa to the south, Botswana to the west, Zambia to the northwest, and Mozambique to the east and northeast. The capital and largest city is Harare. A country of roughly 13 million people, Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, with English, Shona, and Ndebele the most commonly used.

The name "Zimbabwe" is based on a Shona term for Great Zimbabwe, an ancient ruined city in the country's south-east whose remains are now a protected site.

Zimbabwe was formerly known as Southern Rhodesia (1898), Rhodesia (1965), and Zimbabwe Rhodesia (1979). The first recorded use of "Zimbabwe" as a term of national reference was in 1960, when it was coined by the black nationalist Michael Mawema, whose Zimbabwe National Party became the first to officially use the name in 1961. The term Rhodesia—derived from the surname of Cecil Rhodes, the primary instigator of British colonisation of the territory during the late 19th century—was perceived as inappropriate because of its colonial origin and connotations.

Links To Peel

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Peel regularly played music from Zimbabwe on his shows especially artists such as Thomas Mapfumo, Stella Chiweshe, Four Brothers and the Bhundu Boys. In the spring of 1988 Peel visited the country with Sheila as part of the joint venture between the British Council and the BBC World Service after Dave Lee Travis declined the invitation. Peel's role on the occasion was to open a pop music exhibition in the capital city Harare. During his time in the country, Sheila and Peel visited many townships to experience the local music, which included seeing the Four Brothers, who Sheila invited for Peel's 50th surprise birthday party at Peel Acres. Peel considered the Four Brothers' performance for his birthday among the greatest gigs of his life.

Zimbabwe - Observer Sunday 10 April 1988

Article from Peel about Zimbabwe on The Observer published on 10th April 1988

The trip to Zimbabwe was also important to Peel because he got to visit Victoria Falls, which he had always wanted to see ever since he saw a photograph of it as a child. At the Victoria Falls, Peel convinced the border guards to cross into Zambia with the intention of crossing to see the falls from the other side, by mentioning a few Zambian records to the guards, who were impressed with his knowledge of the local music and his singing duet with one of the border guards on a few verses of 'Samora Michel' by the Zambian band Shalawambe.

In an interview with Molara, Peel described Victoria Falls as unbelievable, when asked whether anything has taken his breath away:

"Victoria Falls, it's unbelievable - makes Niagra Falls look like a drainage system. It's so vast. Me and Sheila hired bikes and rode down the Zimbabwean side and went to the Zambian border controls - we asked to go over the border to see their side of the Falls, then I asked if there was a record shop and we ended up discussing music and singing the chorus of his favourite band's no.1 tune together, they stamped my card and in I went. I thought "that's the way to cross international boundaries". What different treatment he would have got if he'd turned up at Heathrow." [1]


The following artists from Zimbabwe recorded sessions for the John Peel Show:

Festive Fifty

The following artists from Zimbabwe had Festive Fifty entries for the John Peel Show:


(Tracks played by Peel from various artist (v/a) compilations featuring music from Zimbabwe. Please add more information if known.)

(LP - Viva Zimbabwe: Dance Music From Zimbabwe) Earthworks

(LP - Take Cover! (Zimbabwe Hits)) Discafrique

(LP - "Goodbye Sandra" : Zimbabwe Hits Volume Two) Discafrique

(LP - Zimbabwe Frontline) Earthworks

(LP - Advance Kusugar! (Zimbabwe Hits - Volume 3)) Discafrique International

(LP - African Sunset "A Collection Of Songs, Singers And Sounds Of Zimbabwe") CSA

(LP - Mutinhimira/Umdhumo We Zimbabwe Vol. 1) Mutinhimira Umdumo

(CD - Spirit Of The Eagle (Zimbabwe Frontline Vol. 2)) Earthworks

(CD - The Rough Guide To The Music Of Zimbabwe) World Music Network

(CD - Zimbabwe Frontline 3: Roots Rock Guitar Party) Stern's Africa

See Also

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