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

Vendors at Mbare

Mbare is a suburb in the south of Harare, Zimbabwe. Founded in 1907 as a township, it includes an informal settlement. Mbare Musika is the largest farm produce market in Zimbabwe.


Squatted area seen from above
Part of Mbare township before Operation Murambatsvina
Evicted area seen from above
The same area after Operation Murambatsvina

Mbare was the first township, now known as a high density area, established in 1907. It was originally called Harari and much of it was constructed after 1950.[1] For Independence Day in 1980 Bob Marley was personally invited by Edgar Tekere, and played a concert in Rufaro Stadium.[2]

In 2001, over 500,000 people were displaced from their Mbare homes when the council demolished 145,000 homes they declared were illegal.[3] Significant portions of Mbare were destroyed by police and military forces during Operation Murambatsvina in May 2005, when President Robert Mugabe described the inhabitants as "people without totems".[4]

Economy and markets[edit]

Vegetables for sale at Mbare Musika

Mbare has Mbare Musika, the largest farm produce market 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. This area has fallen into disrepair in recent years.[5][6] When Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, visited Zimbabwe in 1991 as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, she expressed a desire to see Mbare Musika. The government therefore launched a courtcase to evict squatters she might see on her journey. In "The City of Harare v Tichaona Mudzingwa and 193 others", the High Court stated the government had no reason to evict the squatters, then the government simply forcibly resettled them on a farm 30 kilometres outside Harare.[7]

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ Potts, D.; Mutambirwa, C. C. High density housing in Harare: Commodification and overcrowding. University of the Witwatersrand.
  2. ^ "Edgar Tekere Zimbabwe Politician". Zimbabwe Today. 14 April 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2017. Edgar Tekere being the ZANU-PF Secretary General, personally invited Bob Marley to perform at Rufaro Stadium, for the official Zimbabwean Independence Celebration.
  3. ^ Matamanda, Abraham R. (December 2020). "Living in an Emerging Settlement: the Story of Hopley Farm Settlement, Harare Zimbabwe". Urban Forum. 31 (4): 473–487. doi:10.1007/s12132-020-09394-5.
  4. ^ Fontein, Joost (2009). "Anticipating the Tsunami: Rumours, Planning and the Arbitrary State in Zimbabwe". Africa: Journal of the International African Institute. 79 (3): 369–398. ISSN 0001-9720.
  5. ^ Nhambura, Fortious (17 July 2014). "The slow death of Mbare Musika". The Herald. Zimbabwe. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  6. ^ Nyakudya, Munesu (18 January 2014). "Ministers condemn Mbare Musika". NewsDay. Zimbabwe. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  7. ^ Nkiwane, Victor (1993–1994). "The Problem Of Urban Squatting In African Countries — With a Special focus On Nairobi (Kenya) and Harare (Zimbabwe)". Zimbabwean Law Review. 11.CS1 maint: date format (link)

External links[edit]