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Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second largest city and it is 439km from the capital, Harare, 111 km from the Botswana border, and on the line of rail via Victoria Falls to Zambia and the copperbelt. Its location was the home of the last Matabele (Ndebele) king, King Lobengula. Bulawayo was one of the country's most attractive cities. It was a major transport hub for Southern Africa until Rhodesia declared UDI, and it was the country's engineering capital. The name Bulawayo is loosely translated 'the place of slaughter' or 'the place of killing', which is derived from the Ndebele word 'bulala' meaning 'kill'.[1]

See Bulawayo Metropolitan Province.


20° 9′ S, 28° 35′ E.
Altitude: 1 250m above sea level
See Distances in Zimbabwe.


Originally, Bulawayo was the capital of the Ndebele State during the time of King Mzilikazi. The city was founded by the Ndebele king, Mzilikazi kaMatshobana around 1840.[2] By 1872 it was made a royal town by Mzilikazi. The city's occupation by the British South Africa Company on 4 November 1893, following the 1893 Anglo/Ndebele War, signified the end of the Matabeleland nation and the birth of Bulawayo as a city. This is the day that marked Lobengula's death and the conclusion of the Matabele War. On this day the Union Jack flag was raised representing the official founding of Bulawayo as a town. [3] In 1897, the new town of Bulawayo acquired the status of municipality. It gained city status later, in 1943.

Historically there have been three distinct Bulawayos. Initially named “Gibixhegu”, (now called "Old Bulawayo") was Lobengula's original home from 1871. In 1881, he moved north to the northern part of the modern city, and the capital was later named “ko Bulawayo”. Because it was founded on Lobengula's capital, it is known as the name “City of Kings”. This was then settled on by the colonists post-war.

It attained town status on 1 June 1894 and had the first Municipal Council of 9 elected members in November 1897. By 1943 Bulawayo had attained city status. Bulawayo is the second largest city in Zimbabwe and the centre of Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South Province, and Bulawayo Metropolitan Province. [4] [5]


Bulawayo is a multicultural city mainly populated by the Ndebele ethnic group which arrived in Zimbabwe in the 19th century from Zululand. Most of Bulawayo's residents can speak at least three languages (including English, Ndebele, Kalanga, Sotho, Nambya, Tonga and Venda).
1969 Rhodesia Census recorded: 187 270 African, 49 703 European, 2 410 Asians, 5 653 Coloureds, for a total of 245 040 people. [6]
2012 Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (ZimStat) survey, the city had a population of 655 675, Males- 304 446, Females- 351 229. [7]

The Bulawayo Local Government is Bulawayo Municipality.
See also Bulawayo City Council.
2018 Mayor - Tinashe Kambarami

Other information


  1. Bulawayo has traditionally been the industrial hub of the country with textile, tyre manufacturing, food processing, leather industries, heavy and light engineering concerns, to name a few.
  2. It is the home of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair which is the major international shopping window for Zimbabwe.
  3. Headquarters of the National Railways of Zimbabwe.

International Recognition of Bulawayo

  1. Twice won the United Nations Urban Housing Merit Award for its housing programme.
  2. Was one of 12 finalists world wide in the special global competition to honour local initiatives for addressing environmental and development challenges of the 21st Century which culminated in the United Nations Conference on Environmental and Development that was held in Rio de Jameiro in 1992.
  3. Won 2nd prize in the 1996 Healthy Cities Competition sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  4. Partnered the Institute of Housing and Urban Development of the Netherlands in its research on local economic development initiative
  5. Member of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiative (ICLEI) and one of the only 9 Cities in Africa selected for the Africa Sustainable Cities Network.
  6. Chosen as one of the six implementing local authorities and beneficiary of the Sustainable Urban Resilient Water for Africa: Developing Local Climate Solutions (SURE Water for Africa) a five year project under ICLEI.
  7. Twin City with Aberdeen, Scotland.
  8. Twin City with the City of Durban, Ethekwini, South Africa.
  9. Signed Memorandum of Understanding with Polokwane Municipality in South Africa.
  10. Signed Statement of intent with Siping City in China.
  11. Nominated as Africa’s first ResponsABLE City by the United Kingdom based on ResponseABILITY and EnvironMENTAL Leadership Alliance, through which environmental challenges were tackled.
  12. Came first in the Public Sector Category in the Customer Service Award in 2012, 2013,2014 organised by Contact Centre Association of Zimbabwe.
  13. First Municipality in Zimbabwe to launch a Customer Service Call Centre (2012).
  14. First municipality in Zimbabwe to develop a Water and Waste Water Master Plan (2012).


Bulawayo is itself a tourist centre with historical, game and bird sanctuaries and nature sites. It is also a hub to get to Victoria Falls and {[Hwange National Park]]. Great Zimbabwe is three hours away.

Also in and nearby are the;

See Holiday Inn Bulawayo
See Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel
See N1 Hotel Bulawayo


The United Bulawayo Hospitals, a public hospital network, operates Bulawayo Central Hospital, Richard Morris Hospital, Lady Rodwell Maternity Hospital, and Robbie Gibson Infectious Diseases Hospital.
Mpilo Central Hospital, is in Bulawayo. It has a nursing school and midwifery school on its campus.
Bulawayo is also home to Ingutsheni Hospital, which at 700 beds is the largest psychiatric hospital in Zimbabwe.
Other hospitals include All Saints Children's Hospital, Hillside Hospital, Mater Dei Hospital, the Nervous Disorders Hospital, St Francis Hospital, and Thorngrove Isolation Hospital.
See also Bulawayo Assisted Reproductive Technology Centre.


The Chronicle, a state-owned daily newspaper, and its Sunday edition, The Sunday News, are published in Bulawayo. The Chronicle is the second-oldest newspaper in Zimbabwe, and along with The Herald, published in Harare, it is one of two major state-owned newspapers in the country.
UMthunywa, a state-owned Ndebele-language newspaper, is also published in Bulawayo.
Private online publications like Bulawayo24 News and B-Metro are also based in Bulawayo.

See Bulawayo Agenda


Bulawayo is home to the National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe, (NUST), which was established in Bulawayo in 1991. Solusi University, a Seventh-day Adventist institution established in Bulawayo in 1894, gained university status in 1994.

The Bulawayo Polytechnic offers tertiary training for students who have completed GCE O Level and A Level education. It issues national certificates NC, Diplomas and higher national diplomas HND certificates.

Specialist teacher training colleges:

Other institutes of technology and vocational colleges;

In addition companies;

offer apprenticeship training for qualifying students who then become certified artisans upon completion of studies.


Bulawayo's temperatures ranges from 14 °C in winter to 28 °C in summer. Rainfall in the capital averages 575mm annually.


Bulawayo is home to the Queens Sports Club and Bulawayo Athletic Club, two of the three grounds in Zimbabwe where test match cricket has been played. Bulawayo Golf Club, the first golf club in the city and country was established in 1895. The Matsheumhlope Stream cuts through the 18 hole course in the suburbs.

Bulawayo is home to two large football teams: Highlanders Football Club and Zimbabwe Saints. Other football teams include Bulawayo Chiefs Football Club, Chicken Inn Football Club, and Bulawayo City Football Club. See Bulawayo Chiefs.
See Luveve Stadium.

Bulawayo is home to Hartsfield Rugby grounds where many international Test matches have been played. Hartsfield was developed by Reg Hart.

Other sporting and recreational facilities include:


  1. CityByo, Home, 'CityByo', Published: ND, Retrieved: 24 Apr 2014
  2. Bulawayo
  3. Byo 1872, History of Bulawayo City, Zimbabwe, 'Bulawayo 1872', Published: ND, Retrieved: 24 Apr 2014
  4. [Katherine Sayce (Ed), Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe], Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe, (Quest Publishing, Harare, 1987), Retrieved: 25 July 2019
  5. [R. Kent Rasmussen (ed), Historical Dictionary of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia] (The Scarecrow Press, London, 1979) Retrieved 8 August 2019"
  6. [Mary Akers (ed.), Encyclopaedia Rhodesia] (The College Press, Salisbury, 1973) Retrieved 8 August 2019"
  7. Nqaba Matshazi, Storm over Byo census results, 'The Standard', Published: 23 Dec 2012, Retrieved: 24 Apr 2014