Zimbabwe Profiles Local,Places Lupane: Unveiling the Ndebele Legacy in Zimbabwe’s Heartland

Lupane: Unveiling the Ndebele Legacy in Zimbabwe’s Heartland

Lupane: Unveiling the Ndebele Legacy in Zimbabwe’s Heartland post thumbnail image

Lupane, a district in the Matabeleland North Province of Zimbabwe, serves as the provincial capital, located 172 km from Bulawayo along the A8 Victoria Falls Road.

This comprehensive biography delves into the history, culture, geographical aspects, and notable features of Lupane, presenting a nuanced perspective of this region.

Origin of the Name

The etymology of Lupane is believed to be rooted in either Kalanga or Lozwi languages.

The name “Lupane” has a few possible origins

Lupane: Unveiling the Ndebele Legacy in Zimbabwe's Heartland

Lupane Ndebele Legacy: picture credit to Flickr


  • Zimbabwe: The most likely origin for the name of the Lupane district and town in Zimbabwe is from the Tonga language word “Lupale,” which means “dry land.” This makes sense considering the district’s geographical characteristics.

ALSO READ: Get To Know Buhera And Nice Places To Visit

History of the Place

Tribal Occupancy

Lupane’s history dates back to the establishment of the Ndebele Kingdom in Matabeleland. The Tonga people, originally occupying the region, were displaced by King Mzilikazi, leading to the area becoming predominantly Ndebele-speaking.

King Lobengula later ruled Lupane, with two of his counsellors, Magwegwe Fuyane and Mhlanga, being buried in Lupane’s Pupu area near the Shangani River.

Liberation War and Modern History

Lupane played a role in the Liberation War for Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, enduring challenges during the Gukurahundi disturbances in the mid-1980s.

In the 2000s, political clashes marked the region’s landscape changes. Notable modern developments include the establishment of Lupane State University in 2005 and the Bubi-Lupane Dam in 2010.

ALSO READ: https://zimprofiles.com/ndau-culture-the-heartbeat-of-chimanimani/


The predominant population in Lupane is Ndebele-speaking, a cultural legacy of the Ndebele Kingdom’s influence.

Geographical Location

Lupane: Unveiling the Ndebele Legacy in Zimbabwe's Heartland

Lupane Ndebele Legacy: picture credit to Flickr

Situated at an elevation of 976 m, Lupane Town is strategically located on the A8 Victoria Falls Road.

The district features three significant rivers: Gwayi to the west, Shangani to the east, and Bubi, a feeder river to Lupane Dam, located next to Lupane State University.

  • Lupane is located in the Matabeleland North Province of Zimbabwe.
  • It is also the provincial capital of Matabeleland North.
  • The town of Lupane itself is situated on the flatlands of the province, at an elevation of 976 meters.
  • Several important rivers flow through the district, including the Gwayi, Shangani, and Bubi rivers.
  • Lupane is 172 kilometres from Bulawayo, the country’s second-largest city, and 364 kilometres from Harare, the capital.

Here are some additional resources you might find helpful:


The culture surrounding the Lupane area is rich and diverse, influenced by both historical and contemporary factors. Here are some key points to consider:

Predominant Culture:

  • The Ndebele people are the predominant cultural group in Lupane, having arrived in the area in the 19th century. Their language, isiNdebele, is widely spoken, and their traditions and customs influence various aspects of life.

Historical Influences:

  • The Tonga people were the original inhabitants of the area, leaving their mark on place names and some cultural practices.
  • The colonial period also impacted the region, introducing Western influences in education, religion, and administration.

Key Cultural Aspects:

  • Oral traditions: Storytelling and passing down knowledge through word-of-mouth plays a significant role in preserving cultural heritage.
  • Traditional ceremonies: Events like amakhosi (chieftaincy installation) and umbuyiso (initiation) hold deep cultural significance.
  • Music and dance: Traditional music and dance forms like ingoma (drumming) and amahubo (songs) are vibrant expressions of culture.
  • Craftsmanship: Basket weaving using ilala palm leaves is a notable local craft practised by women.
  • Spirituality: Traditional beliefs and practices related to ancestors and diviners are still prevalent in some communities.

Contemporary Dynamics:

  • Urbanization and modernization: While traditional practices remain important, there’s a growing influence of contemporary trends, particularly among younger generations.
  • Economic challenges: The region faces economic hardships, impacting cultural practices and traditions.
  • Tourism: Cultural tourism offers opportunities to showcase and preserve local heritage.

Further Exploration:

  • Local museums and cultural centres: These institutions offer insights into the history and culture of the region.
  • Engaging with the community: Talking to local people is an excellent way to understand their lived experiences and cultural perspectives.
  • Attending cultural events: Participating in traditional ceremonies and festivals provides firsthand interaction with local culture.

Farming Practices

Lupane embraces subsistence farming, relying on seasonal rainfall for crops such as millet, sorghum, sugar cane, cotton, maize, and vegetables.

Animal husbandry includes cattle, goats, sheep, and poultry, contributing to both sustenance and income.

Indigenous Hardwoods

The region boasts indigenous hardwoods harvested for local use and export.

Mining and Tourism

Lupane has been explored for Coal Bed Methane (CBM), with a significant resource identified.

Tourism potential exists, with attractions like the recently built dam and heritage sites linked to King Lobengula.

ALSO READ: https://zimprofiles.com/mysteries-and-marvels-unraveling-the-tapestry-of-nyanga/

Places to Visit

Lupane: Unveiling the Ndebele Legacy in Zimbabwe's Heartland

Picture credit to Bryoryans

Lupane offers diverse places of interest, including

  • Nganyana
  • Mavele
  • Kamativi Mine
  • Gwande I & II
  • Filimons
  • Chief Sai
  • Mahlalayedwa
  • Matemawule
  • Mahula,
  • Nkwalini
  • Vulashaba
  • Jissi
  • Nyamandhlovu
  • Gwaai.

Schools in Lupane

Lupane is home to Lupane State University and several secondary and primary schools, including Fatima High School, Mabhikwa, Sibambene, Amandlethu, and Zwangendaba High Schools.

Council Contacts

Lupane Local Board

  • Email: lupanelocalboard@gmail.com
  • Vision: A model urban local authority providing quality services for sustainable development by 2020.
  • Mission: To create an enabling environment for sustainable development by providing quality services through a systematic and participatory approach to development.
  • Core Values: Transparency, Integrity, Excellency, Innovativeness, & Accountability
  • Population Estimate: 10,000 (ZIMSTAT 2017)
  • Area: 23.1 km²
  • Altitude: 1,016m
  • Climate: Tropical Dry Savanna
  • Road Network: 3km tarred, 66km earth, and gravel


  1. Know Lupane: Beautiful Places to Visit – Bryoryans, August 23, 2022
  2. Lupane District – Wikipedia – Latest Update Not Specified.

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