Christmas in Zimbabwe

Looking back at the years in Zimbabwe with nostalgia, I reminisce about the Christmas gatherings with close and distant relatives, friends and neighbours. The days leading to Christmas were filled with an air of excitement for the annual reunion. Family would come from far and wide to celebrate Christmas at our grandpa’s distant farm. I remember my brothers and sisters betting on who would be the first to arrive and who would be last.


Muriwo Nedovi                                                 Sadza Rezviyo

On Christmas Eve there would be no sleep for anyone. The female family members would be cooking all night; muriwo nedovi (vegetables with peanut butter), Nhopi (a traditional Zimbabwean delicacy made from pumpkin and peanut butter), and of course sadza. Sadza is the staple food in Zimbabwe and is typically made from ground corn. My family ate this “white” sadza almost every day – except at Christmas, when the women in my family cooked sadza rezviyo which is sadza made from rapoko (finger millet), for a special treat. This sadza had a very deep brown colour and a pleasant smell. The male members of the family had it relatively easy, braaing (barbequing) the meat from the cow and goat that were normally slaughtered for the occasion.

I can smell the yummy Zimbabwean traditional food just thinking about it. The food is one of the things I miss the most now that I live in the western world.

The youngsters were usually involved in playing games like dunhu (a version of monkey in the middle), chisveru (a version of tag), chihwande-hwande (hide and seek), as well as the usual mischief that kids get up to when excited! This helped to spread the merriment into a naughty spirit of laughter. Even the toddlers seemed to feel the excitement in the air and stayed up past their normal bedtimes.

With all the cooking, braaing, games and merrymaking came the joy of catching up with family, reminiscing about Christmases past, and looking forward to the joys of the coming year.

As we approach another Christmas, I sentimentally look back on those times and miss the large extended family that made Christmas the once a year event in our family.

I wish everyone a joyful Christmas with family!

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2 thoughts on “Christmas in Zimbabwe

  1. I so enjoyed reading this too. Staying up all night to prepare food on Christmas Eve! Now that’s community! And perhaps good cause for a nap on Christmas day.

    I hope that your Christmas is full of joy, good food and laughter. Merry Christmas, Addrienne.

  2. Thank you for sharing this – so wonderful to hear about other family traditions. I can almost smell the food cooking and hear the laughter of the children and the women as they prepare this feast.