A country in Southern Africa. Famous recently for tension between its current President Robert Mugabe and the United Kingdom over land issues. Was formerly the British colony of Southern Rhodesia; in 1965 it declared independence and spent 14 years under white minority rule comparable to apartheid South Africa. Finally became democratic in 1979 and was renamed "Zimbabwe-Rhodesia" and then just "Zimbabwe".
The good times didn't last long: by the mid-90s, President Robert Mugabe had gone Ax Crazy and turned the country into a dictatorship again -- hyper-inflation, economic ruin and mass poverty ensued, as well as persecution of the white Zimbabwean minority and of all opposing political organisations (including the Movement for Democratic Change, who formed in response to Mugabe's crazy dictatorial actions). Eventually, in 2008, the MDC managed to negotiate a truce with Mugabe: their leader Morgan Tsvangirai became Prime Minister, while Mugabe remained as President with reduced powers. Several years on, times are still very tough.
Used to be the "bread basket of Africa" before its current economic woes.
- Butt Monkey: It's a prime source of jokes due to the hyperinflation.
- The Caligula: Robert Mugabe, according to some reports.
- Funny Money - Before dropping their currency they were printing notes with expiration dates, after which the notes were worth only the paper they were printed on... Which is to say they increased in their value...
- Insistent Terminology: When the country made its Unilateral Declaration of Independence, it called itself simply "Rhodesia". Britain refused to call it anything other than "Southern Rhodesia", its colonial name, for the next fifteen years. ("Northern Rhodesia" achieved independence as Zambia).
- Never My Fault: Mugabe and his defenders (and yes, they do exist) claim that Zimbabwe's economic woes are in fact due to colonial oppression and conspiracies by Great Britain and the other major industrial powers of the world.
- Ridiculous Future Inflation: Inflation got so incredibly bad, they had to drop the Zimbabwe dollar and declare US dollars, euros, sterling pounds and South African rands as legal tender. There were 100 Million Z-Dollar bills being printed with a limited life-span, as the government were expecting that either they would have the inflation under control, or they would have to shift to printing 100 Billion Z-Dollar bills and would need to recycle the paper to print the new bills...
- Ninety percent of all jokes relating to Zimbabwe will invariably feature a reference to the current state of its economy.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Mugabe's defenders portray him as a hero and resistance leader who's fighting the exploitation of Africa by the U.S. and Europe. On one level, this admittedly makes a certain kind of sense. After all, why let foreigners loot the national till when you can have it all to yourself?