The word culture means “the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society”. What makes the world so captivatingly diverse is that culture can found in the smallest details of day-to-day living. There is culture in a township, as well as in a wealthy suburb, and regardless of affluence, it creates a sense of belonging.
It is a fascination with this exotic manner of doing something that we ourselves do – to experience the life of another person, who uses the same earth and air to live and breathe in manner completely different to our own; that elicits such a strong desire to travel in most people.
Whilst there are many upmarket hotels in Zimbabwe, and access to the Falls and the activities on the Zambezi are centred around and close to these areas, there are struggling communities of people living close by that embody the essence of what it truly means to be Zimbabwean. They are the proper hosts of this incredible country and a visit to the townships to meet them is imperative.
The people of the townships have a bond that is incredibly difficult to describe. It is more of a feeling you get when you are there. It is a true sense of what it means to come together as one unit to endure hardships, to grieve over the loss of a loved one, and to rejoice in a marriage and success together.
They have lived on and off the same land for decades, and they, like any group, are thrilled with the opportunity to share their trials and triumphs with visitors who bring much needed income, and in turn a sense of empowerment to their community.
There are a variety of tours to choose from which include visits to the vibrant local markets for an interesting glimpse into what local Zimbabweans value as consumers, as well as areas with historic landmarks like old taverns where men gather to socialise, to churches where congregants come together in their hundreds every week to pray and sing. If you are there during the school term, then you will visit a local school where the delight on the children’s faces as they sing and play is incredibly heart-warming.
Arrange a tour directly from your accommodation in Zimbabwe. The tours take approximately two and a half hours, and there are local crafts to be bought along the way, an essential income for some who rely on Zimbabwe’s tourism industry to survive.