Zimbabwe is a small country in Southern Africa (and NO, it is not South Africa). As a country, we pride ourselves with the beautiful nature and wild animals in our country (yes, you can walk in a bush and meet a lion!) We are not primitive as many would imagine. We do have internet and we wear “normal clothes.” However, growing up in Zimbabwe is quite different from growing up in more developed countries. I believe most Zimbabweans or even some Africans can relate to the following signs that a person grew up in Zimbabwe.


Zimbabweans are renowned for their odd use of “hey” at the end of sentences as if we need approval or affirmation about everything that passes through our lips. For instance, “I need to eat hey”. “I should stop saying “hey” at the end of every sentence hey”.


FALSE! Your parents want to make you believe that they never had any grade other than an A in all subjects from primary school all the way to college. They tell you this because anything other than an a hundred percent from you is simply unacceptable.

Me: “Dad, I got a 98% in my Chemistry examination!”

Dad: “What happened to the other 2%? So you are trying to say that the exam was out of a 100% because the examiner wanted you to have three heads so that you can get that 100%?”

  1. You knew the right time to cry when you were getting a hiding

Zimbabwean parents use the “Spare the rod, spoil the child” technique of disciplining their children. When you were getting a hiding, you would NEVER cry too early into the hiding because they would think you were faking and this would score more hidings. However, you would not cry too late into the beating because your parents would think that you were a “tough guy”. This would also land you with more hidings.

  1. You got hidings for literally anything you did

Life in a typical Zimbabwean family was tough! Each day without getting a hiding from your parents was a blessing. Not that parents enjoy beating their children, but because they have high expectations from their children. Therefore meeting these expectations is nearly impossible.

Mum: “You look quite sad my child. What is wrong?”

Me: “Well, nothing mum. I am fine.”

Mum: “Oh, are you trying to say I am seeing things hey? Fetch my belt so that I can give you a real reason to be sad about!”

  1. You have been to Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba, Great Zimbabwe ruins or Inyanga mountains

These four places are the most popular tourist attractions in Zimbabwe. Every Zimbabwe has either been to all four places, or at least one of them. If not, they make sure that when they get their first paycheque, they do.

  1. Anyone older than you is your “aunt”, “uncle”, “brother” or “sister”

One definite thing Zimbabwean parents teach their children is to respect elders. Any person older than you (even two years older) should not be called by their first name as this is basically a crime against humanity.

  1. You have eaten Thingz, Chompkins, Charhons biscuits and Mazowe orange crush

These are all “staple snacks” in Zimbabwe. It is mandatory to eat these tantalizing snacks for you to be called a true Zimbabwean!

  1. If you were called by your full name, the day would not pass without tears!

Growing up, each Zimbabwean child is given a name to be called around the house. The name is usually a shortcut of the full name. For instance, my name is Audrey, but my parents used to call me Audy. Ok, so whenever your parents called for you with your full name: Audrey Mandhla Chigarira! Just know that you were in huge trouble which was equal to a fine hiding.

  1. Your parents are demi-gods

It does not matter if you learned that the sky is blue. If your parents say the sky is purple, then the sky is in fact, purple. At least in their presence. You must not BY ALL MEANS try to disagree.

  1. Your parents would call you to hand them something that was literally next to them

This is very annoying! You could be called from literally anywhere, even the other side of the world to pass a phone that is ringing ten centimetres away from them.

  1. You intentionally lost weight during examinations

Zimbabwean parents will only believe that you were studying during examinations if you lose some weight. If by any chance you gain weight or maintained the same weight, they you were not studying. So to avoid WORLD WAR THREE, you would find means to LOSE that weight.

  1. You do not trust ice cream containers in the refrigerator

You have opened your refrigerator on a hot sunny day and there it was! An attractive ice cream container staring back at you. You opened it with sheer excitement only to find leftover meat in it.


  1. You know someone by the name Takesure, Nomatter, Danmyou or Givemore

believe it or not, Zimbabwean parents give their children awkward names. It`s a pity that the children are the ones to carry the burden of having a weird name.

  1. You call traffic lights, ROBOTS
  2. Santa Claus is some other guy. It`s Father Christmas.

Until someone explains to us where the name Santa Claus came from, he does not exist. Sorry!

  1. You Know Tombs is the most reliable bus

Strange as it may seem, a bus called Tombs is very safe and reliable as opposed to its name.

  1. You have known only one president
  2. You know someone from South Africa

Due to economic hardships, quite a number of Zimbabweans migrated or are migrating to South Africa to look for better living standards. Since it is closer, its seems as if everybody is going there now.

  1. Any temperature below 20 degree celcius is arctatic weather.
    Winter in Zimbabwe is not quite cold and so it is difficult to adjust to cold weather. It is extremely painful to experience a winter where snow is involved.
  2. You used to drive on the left side of the road. Now you drive on what is left of the road.

The roads in Zimbabwe are pothole infested. Navigating potholes has become a necessary skill to survive on our roads.


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