Mbare is the oldest high-density residential area in Zimbabwe. It is located on the southern side of the city about 5 kilometres from the central business district of Harare and is one the most talked about areas in the city. The settlement is home to thousands of inhabitants who play various roles in the suburb's everyday life. Mbare is an outstanding monumental suburb due to its unique history and its contribution in shaping Zimbabwe to what it is today.
Prior to the coming of the white settlers, the area was occupied by chief Mbari of the Makore-kore tribe and his royal court was located in what is now called the Kopje Hills near the Central Business District of Harare. The suburb was the first settlement to be built by the Pioneer Column when it arrived in the then Rhodesia in 1907 for migrant workers. The settlement was built on the Salisbury Kopje, where the Magaba and Nyerere Flats now stand. originally, the land on which it was built used to belong to the Chivero chiefdom, which shared boundaries with Chief Seke’s mini-empire.
The suburb has a historical importance as the first Zimbabwean township and the home for the 20-time league champions, Dynamos Football Club. The latter was even nicknamed DeMbare after the suburb's name.
It is believed that Mbare's economy runs into millions of dollars that are exchanged in the vegetable market, Mbare Musika. This is where most households and vendors buy fruits and vegetables for home use and for commercial purposes respectively. Additionally, there is Mupedzanhamo Market (loosely translated 'end poverty'), where one can cheap clothes for as little as a dollar. All these activities bring in money to the suburb. An estimated 5 000 people are said to visit Mupedzanhamo daily.
Siyaso in the Magaba area is somewhat the industrial hub of Mbare. The market area-cum industry is made up of many indigenous traders and manufacturers of various products. It is where all sorts of products are manufactured and sold; building material, car parts, farming equipment, household goods, timber, among others. The area is usually packed by customers who will be buying the seemingly affordable products of various types. The area has grwon to be one of the biggest informal markets in Zimbabwe where customers are presented with a wide range of locally produced products.
Mupedzanhamo market provides space for hundreds of indigenous textile retailers and wholesalers to sell their products under one roof. The place is rather known for providing locals with affordable second-hand clothes, that are usually imported from Mozambique. The informal nature of the trading done at the place has earned at a number of names such as "Kotamai Botique" and "Pedigars". Thousands of locals who flock the place every day are welcomed by loud voices of traders announcing their products and the respective prices in a quest to attract more buyers.
Matapi flats are home to thousands of residents and are one of the biggest residential areas Zimbabwe. The flats are also one of the oldest urban residential settlements in the country. The flats are known for their visible dilapidated state, overcrowded houses and poor sanitation which greets visitors on the corner of every street. However, behind this sheet of seemingly miserable environment, the Matapi community is known for other positive attributes such as music creativity, art and success in the sporting arena.
Rufaro Stadium is the second biggest home of football in Zimbabwe after the National Sports Stadium. The 35 000 seater stadium is home to Dynamos Football Club which is one of the most successful football clubs in the country. The Stadium hosts various of the local football games in the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League as well as other international games. Residents of Mbare are credited for adding the vibe to most of local and international matches which take place at the stadium with their exciting music and entertaining dances.
The Musika side of Mbare is a busy market which sell mainly vegetable and other consumables. place has so much hype and activity because it is where local vegetable vendors buy their products everyday at wholesale prices and sell them in various parts of the city. The place also attracts customers from all corners of the country due to the affordability of products especially agricultural products which are supplied in bulk by farmers. They place is also known for producing fresh agricultural products which come usually every morning from various farming areas of the country.
Mbare Musika Terminus
The terminus connects the city to all the parts of the country. It has bus ranks which connect Harare with the remainder of the country's provinces. Mbare Musika bus terminus has also accumulated fame over the years because it is the entry point into Harare; where most people from the rural divide of the country pass through on their way to other parts of the Harare in particular and Zimbabwe in general.
Mai Musodzi Hall
It is a Mbare Community Hall named after Mai Musodzi (in her memory) whose real name was Elizabeth Maria Musodzi Ayema who was Mbuya Nehanda's niece. She was dubbed Amayi in Mbare due to her outstanding contribution in supporting the plight of women and nationalist politics in the country, particularly in the township. She died in her cottage on 21 July 1952 and was buried at Pioneer Cemetery. She was married to a British South African Police, Frank Kashimbo Ayema.
It is the largest community hall in Mbare. During the colonial era, it was used as a place where nationalist leaders convened as the township was also a hotbed of politics more or less like Highfield. Whenever the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) accords a person a national hero status, his or her body is taken to the hall en route to the National Heroes Acre. The hall is now used for social events such as gigs and several other competitions.
Pioneer Cemetry was established as a burial place for Europeans during the colonial era. There was however a section where Africans were buried. It is now however a closed cemetery. It was graded as an A grade cemetery. Some heroes of the First World War and the Second World War who later came to Rhodesia present day Zimbabwe were also buried at, the cemetery. The cemetery is now delipidated.
Some Notable Individuals to Emerge from Mbare
- George Shaya
- Louis Mhlanga
- Herbert Murerwa
- Killer T
- Tendai Savanhu
- Murape Murape
- Webster Shamu
- Christopher Mutsvangwa
- Seh Calaz
- Soul Jah Luv
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- Administrator, MBARE THE OTHER SIDE OF HARARE, Zimbabwe Association of Female Photographers, Published: 14 Aug 2013, Retrieved: 25 Apr 2014
- Donewell Madzima, Mupedzanhamo: The fashion Mecca of Mbare, The Eye, Published: July 2013, Retrieved: 25 Apr 2014
- I. Mabasa, Mbare Suburb's Strange Rich History,The Herald, published:18 Nov 2014,retrieved:9 Feb 2015"
- Magari Mandebvu, A true heroine - Mai Musodzi, "The Zimbabwean", Published:2 Oct 2012,Retrieved:9 February 2015"
- Sekai Nzenza, The Colonial cemetery, our troubled history, "The Herald", Published:18 Sep 2013,Retrieved:9 Feberuary 2015"