Independence Day of Zimbabwe: April 18
Zimbabwe’s Independence Day is a public holiday in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans remember the anniversary of their country’s independence from foreign rule on the 18th of April yearly.
History of Zimbabwe’s Independence Day
Zimbabwe was annexed by a number of colonizers such as Portugal, the Ndebele, and later the United Kingdom (UK). The greatest struggle was that of the former partially ending its colonial power on November 11, 1965 in the Unilateral Declaration of Independence of Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe). However the UK officially recognized its full independence on April 18, 1980 where Robert Mugabe took the head of state post after independence.
Zimbabwe was part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (present day Malawi) formed on August 1, 1953. It was dissolved on December 31, 1963 due to the growing tensions among the people of Nyasaland and Rhodesia. Republic of Rhodesia was established in 1970 but it was only South Africa which recognizes the country’s independence as UK did not recognize it as a legitimate republic just yet.
Ian Smith, the first prime minister of Rhodesia, was the author of Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). Smith’s action has caused Zimbabwe huge economic sanctions from the powerful members of the United Nations when negotiations between Smith and UK failed to achieve favourable result in both governments.
In February of 1980, elections were held where Robert Mugabe became the first head of the government after independence. This is followed by the country’s formal declaration of independence in April 18, 1980.
Zimbabwe’s Independence Day: Traditions, Customs and Activities
During the celebration, the government holds its usual ceremonial speeches and military parade along with the public air exhibition of fighter planes in the sky in the country’s capital, Harare.
Public celebrations are usually held at National Sports Stadium or at the Rufaro Sports Stadium. Releasing white doves has become a tradition during the holiday symbolizing peace across the nation while singing Zimbabwe’s national anthem ‘Blessed be the land of Zimbabwe’ (‘Kalibusiswe Ilizwe leZimbabwe’).