Zimbabwe lies in the heart of southern Africa, sharing a long eastern border with Mozambique, southern and western borders with South Africa and Botswana, and a north-western border with Zambia along the Zambezi River. In the north-west it also touches on Namibia's Caprivi Strip. Much of the country consists of high plateau, climbing to mountains in the east.
The Shona-speaking people, who today form about 77 per cent of the population, did not originally see themselves as a 'tribe'. Shona-speakers were spread over great distances and lacked consciousness of a common cultural or political identity. 'Shona-ness' is thus a creation of the past hundred years. Colonial missionaries and administrators set about categorizing Shona into clusters or sub-tribes on the basis of largely spurious inferences. These artificial constructs took on lives of their own, and sub-groupings and hierarchies emerged: Zezeru (central), Karanga (south-central) and Manyika (east) are the three largest blocs.
With about 14 per cent of the population (16 per cent if the affiliated Kalanga are included), Ndebele are Zimbabwe's largest minority and their traditional lands (Matabeleland) are in the south-west of the country, around Bulawayo.
Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples