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Zimbabwe (/zɪmˈbɑːbw, -wi/), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. The capital and largest city is Harare. A country of roughly 16 million people, Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, with English, Shona, and Ndebele the most commonly used.

Since the 11th century, present-day Zimbabwe has been the site of several organised states and kingdoms as well as a major route for migration and trade. The British South Africa Company of Cecil Rhodes first demarcated the present territory during the 1890s; it became the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia in 1923. In 1965, the conservative white minority government unilaterally declared independence as Rhodesia. The state endured international isolation and a 15-year guerrilla war with black nationalist forces; this culminated in a peace agreement that established universal enfranchisement and de jure sovereignty as Zimbabwe in April 1980. Zimbabwe then joined the Commonwealth of Nations, from which it was suspended in 2002 for breaches of international law by its then-government, and from which it withdrew in December 2003. The sovereign state is a member of the United Nations, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). It was once known as the "Jewel of Africa" for its prosperity.

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Modern day Matabeleland is a region in Zimbabwe currently divided into two provinces: Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South. These two provinces are in the west and south-west of Zimbabwe, between the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers. The province is named after its inhabitants, the Ndebele people, who took control of the area in 1837 after having been pushed out of other areas of southern Africa during the Mfecane. The language spoken is Ndebele. The major city is Bulawayo. Another notable town is Hwange. The land is particularly fertile and this area has important gold deposits. Industries include gold and other mineral mines, and engineering.

Stone Age evidence indicates that the San people, now living mostly in the Kalahari Desert, are the descendants of this region’s original inhabitants, almost 100 000 years ago. There are also remnants of several ironworking cultures dating back to AD 300. Little is known of the early ironworkers, but it is believed that they put pressure on the San and gradually took over the land.

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The Sable Antelope (Hippotragus niger) is an antelope which inhabits wooded savannah in East Africa south of Kenya, and in Southern Africa. There are three subspecies:

The Sable Antelope stands 120 to 140 centimetres at the shoulder and weigh 200 to 270 kilograms, males being larger than females. Female Sable Antelope are chestnut to dark brown darkening as they mature while males are very distinctively black. Both sexes have a white underbelly, white cheeks and a white chin. They have a shaggy mane on the back of their neck. Sable antelope have ringed horns which arch backward, in females these can reach a meter, but in males they can reach over one and a half meters.

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Ian Douglas Smith GCLM ID (April 8, 1919 - November 20, 2007) served as the Prime Minister of the British self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia from April 13, 1964 to November 11, 1965 and as the first Prime Minister of Rhodesia from November 11, 1965 to June 1, 1979 during white minority rule. Smith unilaterally declared independence (UDI) from the United Kingdom on November 11, 1965. The country failed to gain international recognition and United Nations economic sanctions were instituted.

His party, the Rhodesian Front, won all general elections (only the tiny white minority population was allowed to vote in these) until the end of white rule in 1979. The Smith administration fought against black nationalists in the 1971-1979 Rhodesian Bush War. He negotiated an Internal Settlement in 1979 after fourteen years of maintaining white rule in the face of war, economic sanctions, and international pressure. The agreement led to biracial rule and a coalition government led by Prime Minister Abel Muzorewa of the UANC. The Lancaster House Agreement and the election of Robert Mugabe as Prime Minister of the newly renamed Zimbabwe in 1980 marked the beginning of majority rule. Smith remained a member of the Zimbabwe Parliament until 1987. Subsequently, he enjoyed a long and comfortable retirement in Zimbabwe before relocating to Cape Town, South Africa.


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