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close this bookTraining Human Settlement Workers in Eastern & Southern Africa (AFSC - Mazingira Institute, 1981)
close this folderThe settlements situation
View the documentAngola
View the documentBotswana
View the documentKenya
View the documentLesotho
View the documentMozambique
View the documentSudan
View the documentTanzania
View the documentZambia
View the documentZimbabwe


The present settlements situation in Zimbabwe has been determined by its colonial past. The 1930 Land Apportionment Act reserved urban areas for whites, blacks only being permitted if they had formal employment, and women only if they had marriage certificates and employed husbands. This led to a proliferation of male migrant hostels provided by the local authorities in urban areas. Under the Vagrancy Act, unemployed people were sent back to the Tribal Trust Lands. In the later part of the struggle for independence, this legislation was relaxed as large numbers migrated for security reasons and urban squatter settlements grew. The current rate of urban growth is very high, with the population of Salisbury and its largest adjoining area, Chitungwisa, estimated unofficially at one and a quarter million. Chitungwisa, 28 km from the city centre, was originally the first of a series of Urban Tribal Trust Lands planned by the pre-indepence regime.

The new government plans to control migration through an active rural development policy and requiring families to decide whether they will settle all together in either a rural or an urban area. However, as yet there is no urban housing policy, and urban budgets are being reduced while construction costs increase by 3% per month. Serviced sites without standards controls have been provided in Chitungwisa, and demarcated plots in another area. The other strategy being tried in Chitungwisa at present is the Ultra-Low-Cost House, a small, fully serviced contractor-built dwelling. Salisbury City Council's Glenview site and service project was monitored and evaluated by one of the Workshop participants. This will provide useful data for future planning of self-help projects. It was much more rapidly built and developed to higher standards than anticipated, apparently because the demand for housing was so great that capital was mobilized to fill the vacuum. At the moment, self-help is only mobilized on an individual basis, in the context of a strong administrative structure inherited from the British tradition of local government and a multi-party system. An overall strategy for self-help backed up by the necessary institutions, technical and financial assistance, training and mobilization remains to be developed.