A typical rural compound. Image credit techzim.co.zw

A typical rural compound. Image credit techzim.co.zw

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Settlements:Quality of life in rural areas in Zimbabwe

  • More recently in Chiadzwa families had to be resettled as their houses were on diamond fields.
  • Several families had to be resettled and compensated when their villages were submerged by the rising waters of the dam.
  • The same disruption took place at the Osborne dam was built in Manicaland.
  • A massive resettlement program was undertaken to move the people to higher ground.
  • The construction of the Kariba Dam in the 1950s saw the disruption of the Tonga People who were settled 5 200 square kilometers.
  • The Land Husbandry Act of the 1950s created a predominantly linear settlement pattern that still exists to this day.
  • Settlement patterns are also influenced by physical relief and terrain as well as soil fertility.
  • This is a result of past legislation as well as about availability and access to resources for example water and land for cultivation and pasture.
  • Most of rural settlements tend to be nucleated or linear in Zimbabwe.
  • 95% of the rural households used wood as the main source of fuel for cooking.
  • 52% of the rural housing units had no access to a toilet or sanitation facilities.
  • 63% of the rural housing units had access to safe drinking water.
  • 5% of rural housing units in the country had electricity.
  • 18% of the country’s rural people lived in modern houses, compared to 90% in urban areas.
  • 82% of the country’s rural population lives in either traditional structures, built out of pole and dagga with grass thatch, bricks with grass thatch or mixed dwellings with one or more modern structures with corrugated iron sheets, cement roofing or asbestos roofing.
  • According to the 1992 Census:
  • do not have access to shops, clinics or schools.
  • lack of access to safe drinking water,
  • inadequate sanitation,
  • as the lack of access to proper sanitation,
  • Most of these squatter camps have problems such:
  • Including plastics, card boards, poles, dagga, grass, old iron sheets or whatever material the squatters can lay their hands on.
  • They are usually build out of a combination of several building materials
  • These are especially common on commercial farms, mining centres and some service areas e.g. District Council Offices.
  • Squatter camps are also common in both rural and urban areas in Zimbabwe.
  • Fairly modern settlements built using brick and roofed with asbestos, cement sheets or corrugated iron sheets are also now common in most rural areas.
  • In fact even if families build other houses round kitchens are a part of every rural compound for cultural and practical reasons.
  • Local poles and grass are still however used for thatching these structures which are also usually round in shape betraying the fact that they are influenced by the shape of the traditional pole and dagga huts.
  • Most of Zimbabwe’s communal settlements have moved away from the use of poles and dagga and now use fired bricks.
  • Such traditional houses tend are still common although they are slowly disappearing as people embrace the use of bricks and other modern building materials.
  • Traditional houses are round in shape, built of poles, dagga and grass.
  • In Zimbabwe traditional houses reflect the building materials which are obtained from the surrounding environment.
  • The quality of life in rural areas is greatly affected by the quality of rural housing.
  • According to the 2012 Census report 67% of Zimbabwe’s population lives in rural areas.
  • Also over the past decade most commercial farms have been subdivided into individual plots as people obtained land under the Land Reform Act.

To access more topics go to the Geography Notes page.

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