Mbare, Harare

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Coordinates: 17°51′34″S 31°02′49″E / 17.85944°S 31.04694°E / -17.85944; 31.04694

Scene at Mbare

Mbare is a high-density, southern suburb of Harare, Zimbabwe.

It was the first high-density suburb (township), being established in 1907. At that time, it was located near the city cemetery, sewage works, and abattoir. It was originally called Harare (Hariri) Township, a name later on used for the capital city itself. Harare is a corruption of Haarari, meaning 'One who never sleeps' and this was the name given to the Zezuru Chief of this northeastern part of Zimbabwe, a Chief Harava.


Mbare (formerly Harare) started to expand in about 1907 when the white settlers built a town called Salisbury, thus created an influx of people coming from Mozambique, Zambia, and Malawi looking for employment. The phenomenon gave rise to urban development, but real growth was accelerated when Mbare relocated from where Cold Storage Commission is today to its present location. The first council houses built were popularly known as Kaytor or Old bricks. The colonial term for these kinds of suburbs was the locations, very similar to housing projects in the USA. The area was largely populated by migrant workers while the local workforce preferred to maintain their rural homes reserved places and came to the city seasonally. During the 1940s there was a big shortage of workers as indicated by D.Sean Bott's Labour in colonial Zimbabwe . The council built Matapi flats and Mbare hostels to accommodate local male workers. They would work for a few days at a time and then return to their families in the rural areas. Today those flats are now occupied by married couples.

Significant portions of Mbare were destroyed by police and military forces during the operation Murambatsvina in May 2005.


Venders at Mbare

Mbare has the largest farm produce market Mbare musika in Zimbabwe. Farmers deliver their fresh crops every morning and some travel from far away places like Mutare, Masvingo and Kariba to sell their produce. The council gets much needed revenue to upgrade the community that appears long neglected.

There are secondary market places in Mabre. The first is Mupedza Nhamo a Shona word loosely meaning The finisher of quandaries . This is a market for cheap clothing where you can purchase a shirt for a little as $1 U.S or a second hand pair of shoes for $5 US This market does not serve only the people from Mbare but all the surrounding suburbs.

The second market is Magaba loosely translated to mean tins as in metal containers, this is a market place for metal work and other craftsmanship. This is a hub for budding entrepreneurs and artists where affordable products for the residents of Mbare are made. They make products such as cooking pots, cups, bathing basins and carpentry work such as tables, beds, chairs, display cabinets and even coffins. These create a livelihood for a substantial portion of the population of the suburb.

Because of the central bus station Mbare musika is linked to all major roads it is the Hub linking buses to all different destinations in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries. Trade and transport are the pillars of economy in Mbare.


Primary education[edit]

Mbare has six government primary schools namely Chirodzo, Gwinyai, Chitsere, Shingirai and Nharira.There is one faith school by the name of St Peter's Roman Catholic school. There is also another faith school by the name Chiedza a Salvation Army church School. Not forgetting Anglican run primary school St Michaels Primary school

Secondary education[edit]

Harare High School, George Stark, St Peters and Mbare High Schools are the four secondary schools in Mbare.


Edith Oppermann maternity wing and clinic, Mbare Flats Clinic, Matapi clinic and Beatrice road Infectious Disease hospital.


Dynamos football, one of the country's largest soccer team, also known to its fans as "Dembare," club is based in Mbare it is one of the top teams in Zimbabwe and Rufaro stadium is their home ground it is also an international football ground capable of hosting any topflight match. On Independence day in 1980 Bob Marley was a guest of honour to the people of Zimbabwe and he had a musical show in Rufaro stadium.

Notable places[edit]

Mbare's features include Rufaro stadium, which hosted the 6th Africa Games and the Mai Musodzi Hall, one of Harare's oldest theatre centre. Stodart hall, which houses bodies of state veterans ahead of burial, is also located in Mbare.

Mbare's most famous attraction is the Curio Market, the largest market for traditional artwork, including soapstone sculpture and Mbira instruments. In addition, the largest food and vegetable markets, and a second-hand clothing market operate in Mbare.

Harare cemetry is a landmark place noted for its World War graves. Harare magistrate courts is situated in Mbare{Panyangwe}it is a civil and criminal court without powers to prosecute serious cases. Mai Musodzi Hall is probably one of the most notable historical buildings in Mbare. It was named after one of the pioneer women who spent most of her time educating other women.


In the Old bricks era people indulged in jazz music and tap dance. Concerts were very popular and great singers like Thomas Mapfumo Hilton Mambo and Elisha Josam all emanated from Mbare.Not forgetting the young music generation known as zimdancehall. the mbare fans come up with a sound of shona music that require instrumental tunes and play clacks as the dance. prominent artist that grew out from Mbare are Soul jah love, killer t sir calaz and kinner to mention the few.[EMINENT MUBAIWA MUSIC EDITOR] Stodart hall is Mbare's biggest community hall. Sir Cliff Richard performed in the hall during his tour in the 1960s. The hall was also used for film shows and as a place of last vigil for deceased national heroes. Mbare had the finest swimming pool centre called George Hartley. During summer live bands would play on the turf while swimmers enjoyed themselves.

Currently young adults frequent the Mai Musodzi Hall next to the Mbare Musika where they watch movies late 1990s action movies. The Stodart hall is currently used for hosting DJ parties where the youth pay for entrance. This has seen a transformation of the use of facilities as no upgrades have been done since the late 80's. The George Hartley swimming pool is used to teach primary school children the basics of swimming during week days and rarely has paying customers at any other time.

The football field popularly known as Number 7 was recently extended with new gym facilities in the early 1990s, an open roof netball court and three outside basketball courts.


Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation formerly Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation had the first Black readers to read news on the air and was the only media that could broadcast in the local vernacular languages namely chiShona and Ndebele. In 1956, Mrs Mlambo (now deceased) started a children's show called Mbuya Chirambakusakara.

Notable residents[edit]


External links[edit]