Highfield is the second oldest suburb in Harare Metropolitan Province established in 1930. It is popularly known as Fiyo in the local pidgin language (slang) and is located to the southwest of Harare, bordered by Waterfalls, Willowvale, Glen Norah and Southerton. It has been labeled as the cradle for African nationalism in Zimbabwe as it was used as a launch pad for the creation of parties which spearheaded the Second Chimurenga.
It has about 11 government owned primary schools which include Kudzanayi, Rusvingo, Mutasa, Nyandoro, Mhofu etc and has about 6 secondary schools. Highfield 1 High School was considered to be an elite school for Africans prior to 1980.
It is divided into Highfield East and Highfield West which have separate members of parliament. It consists of various areas such as Old Highfield and New Highfield, Lusaka, Jerusalem, Egypt etc.
Birth of nationalism
Highfield was the launchpad of nationalism in the then Rhodesia. This is because of the fact most nationalist parties were formed and thrived in this predominantly black township. In 1955 there was the formation of the African National Congress Youth League. Before the inception of the National Democratic Party (NDP) in 1960 under the leadership of Joshua Nkomo, there was the bus boycott of 1956 which was led by people like James Chikerema who later became prominent leaders who were fighting against the white minority government. Africans refused to board buses to go to their work-places, opting to walk on foot. The buses which were prominent in the suburb were those owned by Messrs United Transport Bus Company.
The ban of NDP in 1961 saw the inception of a new political party called Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) led by Joshua Nkomo. As a result of conflicts and disagreements, ZAPU split in 1963, leading to the formation of Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) at Enos Nkala's home in the Highfield township. Many leaders of the nationalist movements who were against the Ian Smith led government thus owned houses in the suburb which they used as venues to hold their meetings clandestinely. The likes of Joshua Nkomo, Josiah Chinamano, Enos Nkala, Robert Mugabe, Maurice Nyagumbo and Paul Tangi Mhova Mkondo owned houses in the suburb.
Machipisa shopping centre
It is generally believed that it was named after Paul Machipisa who was a prominent businessman and that various businessmen established their businesses at the shopping centre. Most of them were also alleged to be associated with the nationalist movements. People such as George Tawengwa,(who was the owner of Mushandirapamwe Hotel which is believed that it was a transitional place for the nationalist leaders who were orchestrating the liberation struggle which ushered in independence in 1980), Enock Mwayera, James Chiweshe etc are pinpointed to have owned properties at the shopping centre. Some of the businesses they established are still functional even up to date. The Machipisa shopping centre has today grown to become one of the busiest in Zimbabwe with a wide array of grocery shops, electricals, vegetable markets, service stations, hardware shops and textile shops.
The shopping centre is endowed by many banks such as Barclays, Metropolitan, CABS, CBZ etc and it has established supermarkets like OK, TM. Recently the centre has been infested with numerous small tuck shops which are posing a threat to the established supermarkets.
There is also the Zimbabwe Hall which has been a prominent place were activities such as the Miss Schools Highfield, talent competitions as well as singing competitions usually affiliated to the ZimDancehall genre. The hall also used to have a library which was however relocated to a separate place adjacent to the hall. The library building in which the current library is located in was opened in 1993 by Robert Mugabe.
There is a swimming pool which also provides a perfect hide out as well as acting a place of relaxing. There are also numerous night clubs and hide-outs including Saratoga, Jimmy Jimalo, Asina Hembe.
It is located within the vicinity of the shopping centre. It has been used to host numerous rallies. When Nkomo returned from Zambia in 1980, his welcome rally was hosted at the grounds on 13 January 1980. In the same year, Mugabe hosted his first election campaign rally in 1980. The grounds also hosted the historic 'One Million Man March' rally in 2007 which was addressed by Mugabe ans attended by many people from various spheres ranging from politicians, musicians and ZANU PF supporters.
On 5 July 2013, Mugabe hosted his first star rally for the July 31, 2013 elections where he explained his election manifesto. The grounds have also been used to host the national prayer day by the Zimbabwe Christian Council. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has also used the place to host its own rallies.
Takashinga cricket club
It has been a place which has been contributing much to the production of Zimbabwean cricket players. People like Tatenda Taibu, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri etc were trained from this club and they were at one point a force to reckon with in the Zimbabwean cricket squad.
Notable People from Highfield
- Joshua Nkomo– founding father, former vice-president of Zimbabwe, Founding President of ZAPU.
- Josiah Chinamano- Nationalist, First Vice President of ZAPU.
- Paul Tangi Mhova Mkondo – One of the first batch of Gonakudzingwa Political Prisoners, Pan Africanist, Nationalist , philanthropist, educator, indigenous businessman.
- Enos Nkala – nationalist, ZANU PF founded in his Highfield house.
- Robert Mugabe – former president of Zimbabwe. Lived in Highfield before becoming president in 1980; is a constituent member of Highfield.
- George Tawengwa - owner of Mushandirapamwe Hotel (plans and property sold off to him Paul Tangi Mhova Mkondo). Tawengwa was the first black person to buy a farm in then Rhodesia. George and his wife Mabel were featured in a 1977 The Herald newspaper to mark this historic milestone. His sons are all businessmen and farmers, and Charles and Solomon Tawengwa were mayors of Harare, with Charles recently appointed a senator.
- Vladimir Tawanda Tomuseni - Former Child Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe Rated Most successful Jnr. Parliamentarian, Children rights activist and Champion Debater.
- Dr. Edward Pswarayi - second black African medical doctor in Zimbabwe; the first was Dr Tichafa Samuel Parirenyatwa, former Deputy Minister of Health and former Deputy Minister of Transport.
- Vusi Sibanda - Zimbabwean cricketer.
- John Madzima - One of the founding members of ZIFA, Zimbabwe International Football Association. He earned an MBE from the Queen of England for bringing about changes to the then, segregated sport and putting Southern African football on the map.
- Oliver Mtukudzi – an international superstar and acclaimed musician, born and raised in Highfield.
- Thomas Mapfumo – an international musician, owns a Division one soccer team Lions based at Gwanzura stadium, he used to perform at Machipisa.
- Marshall Munhumumwe and the Four Brothers – musicians, formed in Highfield and were regulars at Machipisa Night Club and Saratoga.
- James Chimombe – a musician, grew up in Highfield and was mentored by Daniel Mugona (Sekuru Daniel) of Lusaka, Highfield; sponsored and promoted by Pan Africanist businessman Paul Tangi Mhova Mkondo at Hide Out Club 99.
- Safirio Madzikatire (Mukadota) – a massively popular multi-talented actor and musician; used the Cyril Jennings Hall (locally known as CJ) in Old Highfield as a base for rehearsals.
- Tinashé – a British singer-songwriter.
- Magikal a musician singer-songwriter
- Biggie Tembo-a guitarist and musician of the Bhundu Boys
- Lamont Chitepo - musician
- DJ Mbale - DJ
- Roland Muchengwa - Socialite
- , Highfield the cradle of nationalism, "ZBC", John Gambanga:,retrived:18 June 2014"