Zvishavane, about 97km SW of Masvingo, was built around an asbestos mine. Gold, beryl, chrome and iron ore mined in the area The major agricultural activity in the area is cattle ranching. Zvishavane is just south of Zimbabwe's geographic center. The names is said to be a corruption of shavani, meaning "finger millet".
Formerly called Shabani.
The asbestos mine started operations in 1916. In 1987, it was the largest asbestos mine in Zimbabwe.
A rail link was established in 1928, from Gweru.
A village management board was established in 1921, followed by a town management board in 1930. Municipal status was granted in 1968.
In late 1974 it was ranked eighth in the country's urban centers.
In 1974, the population was 17 000 (88% black). (14 170 African, 1 553 European, 36 Asian, 58 Coloured. Total = 15 820)
In 1987, the population was 26 758.
It is now home to about 103,889 people.
<ref name="Encyclopedia Zimbabwe"> [Katherine Sayce (Ed), Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe], Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe, (Quest Publishing, Harare, 1987), Retrieved: 25 July 2019
<ref name= "Historical Dictionary of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia"> [R. Kent Rasmussen (ed), Historical Dictionary of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia] (The Scarecrow Press, London, 1979) Retrieved 8 August 2019"
<ref name= " Encyclopaedia Rhodesia "> [Mary Akers (ed.), Encyclopaedia Rhodesia] (The College Press, Salisbury, 1973) Retrieved 8 August 2019"