Epworth, Zimbabwe

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Coordinates: 17°53′22″S 31°09′41″E / 17.88944°S 31.16139°E / -17.88944; 31.16139

Nickname(s): Epaz, Epaton
Epworth is located in Zimbabwe
Coordinates: 17°53′24″S 31°8′51″E / 17.89000°S 31.14750°E / -17.89000; 31.14750
Country Zimbabwe
Province Harare Province
Established 1929
 • Type Local Board
Elevation 1,473 m (4,833 ft)
Population (2012 census)
 • Total 152,116

Epworth is a settlement in south-eastern Harare. It is home to some famous balancing rocks.


Epworth is located about twelve kilometres out of the Harare city centre. It is a high density dormitory town administered by the Epworth Local Board.[1] It is bisected by a stream into two parts. The Balancing Rocks found on the northern approaches of the town are famous, featured on all bank notes issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.


Epworth Mission was established by the Rev. Shimmin more than a century ago, 1890 as a Methodist Mission Station. Epworth then and as today is divided into 7 wards: A large influx of people occurred during the late 1970s and early 1980s with the population being 20,000 in 1980 and 35,000 in 1987. The Methodist Church could not control the influx of people, and therefore transferred ownership of the farm to the Ministry of Local Government in 1983. By 2002 the population was 113,884.[2] Epworth had not been planned as an urban residential area, and therefore this rapid increase in population was occurring on land without any water supply and sanitation facilities. Epworth became the only informal settlement to have been tolerated by the Zimbabwean Government in the post-independence period because of the long history of settlement by some of the residents.[3] The government decided to upgrade rather than demolish the informal settlement. Since most residents of Epworth had settled in the area spontaneously, public utilities such as water, sewage and electricity were lacking before government intervention. A Local Board formed in 1986 under the Urban Councils Act, and whose members are elected by the community, is responsible for managing the area including the collection of rates and other levies.[4] Epworth was initially developed into four sub-areas but as the population increased it expanded to nine sub-areas that had extensive squatter settlements. Health services are provided by two clinics in the area. Also, in Epworth there is a large rock that the people call "Domboramwarwi", which means rock of God.

Development status[edit]

Electricity is only found at service centres, some schools, and offices. The majority of the people get by as street vendors and informal manufacturers. There are no street names but most of the plots are numbered. The residents come from Domboramwarwi, KwaSolani, KuOverspill, KuStopover [Magada]etc. It is a poor suburb.[5] There are three secondary schools namely Epworth High School, Domboramwari High School and Muguta Secondary School which was commissioned in 2007.

“Then, there is the notorious quarry pool on the western approaches of the town whose limpid and translucent water has been used as a dumping site for vehicles stripped of their parts and, of course, murder victims." People have committed suicide in the pool.

Since most the houses found in the town are built from unburnt bricks, the houses are prone to fall during heavy rains that are wont to lash the area.[6]

Social decay[edit]

Due to the harsh economic times that the country has been passing through for the past decade, crime has been on the increase in the over-crowded suburb.[7] This is not to say crime wasn't there in the days of old, only that now it happens on a larger scale.[8]


  1. ^ Harare Provincial Profile (PDF) (Report). Parliament Research Department. 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2103.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ Central Statistics Office of Zimbabwe, 2003. Demographic and Healthy Survey, Government Printer, Harare, Zimbabwe.
  3. ^ Butcher, 1993 C. Butcher, Low income housing. In: L. Zinyama, Editor, Harare—The Growth and Problems of the City, University of Zimbabwe Publications, Harare, Zimbabwe (1993)
  4. ^ Gandidzanwa, P., 2003. Attitudes and practices towards water supply and sanitation facilities: the case study of the Epworth upgrading programme. M.Sc. thesis (unpublished), University of Zimbabwe
  5. ^ Heavy rain sometimes destroy homes [1](accessed 2 November 2008)
  6. ^ Relief Work continues [2](accessed 2 November 2008)
  7. ^ No respite for workers.[3](accessed 2 November 2008)
  8. ^ "Epworth Turns Back on Its Christian Roots" at allafrica.com (accessed 2 November 2008)