Unity Day in Zimbabwe

Every December 22nd is observed as Unity Day in Zimbabwe. This public holiday commemorates the merger of two opposing political parties in Zimbabwe, the ZANU and ZAPU parties, on this day in 1987.

Before this unification, both parties had their own ideas about what direction the country should go in, and each organization represented a particular dialect spoken in the country. When the two groups finally came together, it ended a conflict that had existed since before the 1960s. Now, this holiday stands as a tribute to what can be done when two opposing groups are brought together in a sense of unity.

The History Of Unity Day In Zimbabwe

In Rhodesia, two nationalist political groups emerged during the 1960s to put an end to the minority-led white rule in the country. The Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) came together to form a political alliance to advance their goals.

When the country gained independence in 1980, ZANU became the ruling party. Unfortunately, political divisions began to deepen between ZANU and ZAPU, leading to civil unrest and eventually violence. Between 1983 and 1987, a series of massacres occurred that claimed the lives of over 20,000 people.

On December 22nd, 1987, Robert Mugabe (Leader of ZANU) and Joshua Nkomo (Leader of ZAPU) came together to sign the Unity Accord. This accord created a single nationalist political party under the name ZANU PF (Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front).

It also managed to end general hostilities in the country. Ten years later, in 1997, National Unity Day was established as a day for people to reflect on the unification of the country.

Observing Unity Day In Zimbabwe

This holiday is always kicked off with a national address by the President of Zimbabwe that focuses on the importance of reconciliation and unity. It’s also a day that is observed with cultural festivals that showcase food, dance, and traditions from some of the country’s various ethnic groups.

Other events include a unity march and community service projects that are held by various groups. On social media, the hashtag #UnityDayZimbabwe can be used to spread the word about this holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
Zimbabwe (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
December 22 Sunday
Next year (2025)
December 22 Monday
Last year (2023)
December 22 Friday