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(Fort Victoria)
Coat of arms of Masvingo
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Yupanqui
Masvingo is located in Zimbabwe
Coordinates: 20°03′45″S 30°49′25″E / 20.06250°S 30.82361°E / -20.06250; 30.82361
City Zimbabwe
Province Masvingo
District Masvingo
Fort Victoria 1890
Masvingo 1982
 • Executive Mayor Femius Chakabuda
 • Total 38 km2 (15 sq mi)
Elevation 1,075 m (3,527 ft)
Population (2013)
 • Total 72,527
 • Density 1,900/km2 (4,900/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+1)
Twin cities
 • Middlesbrough United Kingdom

Masvingo (before 1982 known as Fort Victoria) is a town in south-eastern Zimbabwe and the capital of Masvingo Province. The town is close to Great Zimbabwe, the national monument from which the country takes its name.[1]


The town was known as Fort Victoria until 1982, when its name was briefly changed to Nyanda. Within a few months its name was again changed to Masvingo when it was discovered that Nyanda did not translate very well between dialects. It is the oldest colonial settlement in Zimbabwe, and grew up around the encampment established in 1890 by the Pioneer Column en route to their eventual destination, Salisbury. The Old Fort national monument is located in the centre of town, and was erected in 1891 as one of a series of fortifications to guard the route from Salisbury to the south. The very first cricket match in Zimbabwe is said to have taken place close by in 1890.[citation needed]


The population was approximately 15,000 in 1970;[2] 30,523 in 1982 and rose to 51,743 in 1992. It had a population of approximately 58,000 in 2002 and is said to have passed the 100.000 peg in 2008. Masvingo is located 292 km south of Harare. Most of the local population belongs to the Karanga Shona ethnic group. It is divided into suburbs including Mucheke, Rujeko, Rhodene, Target Kopje and Eastvale. The suburbs are divided into high-density, middle-density and low-density suburbs. Mucheke, the oldest township and Rujeko are the most populous high-density suburbs. The middle-density suburbs are Eastvale located close to Zimuto Police Camp and Target Kopje located on the southern part of town on a small hill close to Flamboyant Hotel. Rhodene is a low density suburb on the northern part of the city centre, Rhodene is the most affluent suburb in Masvingo.


Masvingo Polytechnic and Great Zimbabwe University are the two main centres of higher education in the city. Both institutes are run by the government. Great Zimbabwe University grew out of what was once Masvingo State University. Reformed Church University is another University 25km south of Masvingo run by the Reformed Church of Zimbabwe. It was formerly the Great Zimbabwe University. Masvingo Teachers' College is one of the government run colleges from which Great Zimbabwe devolved. The college has still remained at the campus and the University has a new site. Other teachers' colleges around Masvingo include the Reformed Church of Zimbabwe run Morgenster Teachers' College and the Catholic run Bondolfi Teachers' College. The four major high schools are Victoria High School, Kyle College, Zimuto High School, Gokomere High School and Chibi High School, one of the most prestigious mission schools in the whole of Masvingo Province.[citation needed]


The landscape in southern Zimbabwe relatively flat, interspersed with rounded granite mountains. They are known as kopjes (Dutch: little heads) and they are often quite smooth. Mopane trees dominate the savannah landscape. Occasionally, one see baobab trees. The weather is hot and dry throughout the year, except during the summer when the rains come.

The town lies near Lake Mutirikwe and is home to a golf course and a freight railway line. It lies on the Mucheke River, with Queen Victoria Gardens in the town centre and Shagashe Game Park and an Italian memorial church built during World War II nearby. It also has an airstrip.

Masvingo is situated in a drought-prone area, with average rainfall of 600 mm/a.[3] The raw water source for the city is Lake Mutirikwe. Apart from providing water for the city of Masvingo, Lake Mutirikwe supports water supply schemes for several riparian farmers and large sugar cane irrigation schemes in the Triangle and Hippo Valley areas. The storage capacity of the lake, which was completed in 1960, is 1.4 × 109 m³.


The town used to be the centre of a mining and cattle ranching district.

The large-scale destruction of Zimbabwe's agricultural industry since 2000 has had a serious impact on farming in the district.


The Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Masvingo

There are a variety of tourist attractions within a thirty mile radius of the town. Within 20 km of Masvingo are the Great Zimbabwe National Monument and the Lake Mutirikwe Recreational Park and Kyle game resort with 12 different species, including the white rhino.

Culture and recreation[edit]

The major soccer club in the town is Masvingo United, whose home ground is Mucheke Stadium in the suburb of Mucheke. Annually, a Miss Masvingo Province pageant is held.

The Southern Rocks, one of the five first-class cricket teams in Zimbabwe, are based in Masvingo.

City Twinning[edit]

The twinning was signed by the town mayors in 1990.[4] This led to the forming of the Kernen-Masvingo association by Kernens Mayor Mr. Haussmann, the school headmaster Franz Miller and its board manager D. Kaiser for 7 years. This organisation has led many projects in Masvingo, including school partnerships, such as that between Karl-Mauch-Schule in Kernen and Bondolfi primary school (25 km), building of a dining room at the old peoples' home in Mucheke, the Runyararo-Frieden day clinic and the construction of 4 buildings at Alpha cottages orphanage. Many other projects have been realised: cholera medicine, water treatment chemicals, many containers with helping goods, introduction of the medicine Viramune/Nevirapin in 2001 to all hospitals in Zimbabwe by D. Kaiser, given free of charge by the German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Studying Africa through the Social Studies". Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
  2. ^ Bridger, P.; House, M., and others (1973). Encyclopaedia Rhodesia. College Press. p. 448. 
  3. ^ Dube, E (2003). "Analysing water use patterns for demand management: the case of the city of Masvingo, Zimbabwe". Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C 28 (20–27): 805. doi:10.1016/j.pce.2003.08.004. 
  4. ^ "Über uns " Geschichte". Kernen-Masvingo-Gesellschaft. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  5. ^ "Projekte". Kernen-Masvingo-Gesellschaft. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 20°4′28″S 30°49′58″E / 20.07444°S 30.83278°E / -20.07444; 30.83278