THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

Summary of the baseline study on the situation of coloured people in Zimbabwe
National Association for the Advancement of Mixed Race Coloureds (NAAC)
October 29, 2003

Download the full document
- Word 97  version (716KB)

The National Association for the Advancement of Mixed Race Coloureds (NAAC) in Zimbabwe is a fledgling organization that was formed in March 2001 with the assistance of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF). Its driving principles are recognition, acceptance and advancement of the mixed race Coloured minority in Zimbabwe as a basis for laying a solid foundation for the future of Coloured children. Thus soon after its formation, NAAC went into partnerships with the donor community in order to fulfill its mandate. This baseline study is a product of one such partnership with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). It must be stated here that this baseline study was the brainchild of the Youth Committee of NAAC and is the first major study under the auspices of NAAC since its inception.

The Base Period
This baseline study was conducted over a period of three months stretching from March 2003 to May 2003 in the major centres/towns of Zimbabwe.

Aims and Objectives of the Baseline Study
The driving aims and objectives of this baseline study were to establish the socio-economic and socio-political condition of Coloured people in post-independent Zimbabwe. This became imperative given the long history of neglect and marginilisation by both the colonial and post-colonial governments. Based on the findings and the recommendations of the study, NAAC sought to initiate action-programmes aimed at addressing some of the problems that continue to haunt the Coloured community by engaging not only the donor community, but central government, the private sector and other well wishers.

A number of methods were used in this baseline study. Historical research was carried out in order to situate the study into context. Fieldwork research was also embarked upon in some selected towns and cities of the country where there is a good concentration of the Coloured community. A questionnaire was used as the key research instrument and a total of 550 respondents (2% of the total Coloured population), randomly selected, were interviewed. The target population was the head of the household, community and opinion leaders, business people and the elderly who were assumed to be more knowledgeable about the community. Data was also collected through focus group discussions as well as through interviews with selected key informants.

Key Findings / Results of the Baseline Study
The following were the key findings / results of the study:

(a) Demographic Characteristics
While the preliminary results for the 2002 Population Census show that the current Coloured population stands at about 32 000, this figure could be double, given the politics of figures in most population census the world over. The 550 respondents interviewed therefore represent about 2% of the total Coloured population in Zimbabwe. Harare and Bulawayo provided about 60% of the respondents because of the large concentrations of Coloured people in the two cities. Slightly more than half of the respondents (51.4%) were married.

(b) Household Characteristics
62% of the households were male-headed while 38% were female-headed. The proportion of female-headed households was therefore found to be higher than the national figure of 20%. It was also established that the majority of the respondents had 2 to 3 children per family while about 27% of them had other dependents to look after besides their own children.

(c) Education Status
The majority of the respondents had at least secondary education (Ordinary level) while very few had either professional or tertiary education. Men tended to have higher educational/professional qualifications compared to women. Again it also emerged that very few children were receiving tertiary education.

(d) Occupational Characteristics
28% of men were employed as artisans while the majority of women were employed as secretaries. A large proportion of women (23%) were unemployed with at least 16% of them being housewives. The majority of the respondents (70%) were in the
Z$11 000- Z$100 000 gross monthly income bracket with only 17% earning over Z$150 000 per month, figures far below the rate of inflation. The study also shows that the major sources of income (other than from principal employment) are pensions, vending and remittances from abroad as well as contributions from children.

(e) Property Ownership
About 56% (272) of the 550 respondents interviewed owned property with 47.6% of these having purchased the property, compared to 8.4% who inherited it. This high proportion of property ownership is mainly because the target group was the head of the household. 90% of this property was in the form of a flat or house.

(f) Land Ownership
The study established that about 83.4% do not own land in Zimbabwe and that most of them do not have a rural home. In reference to the land reform exercise in Zimbabwe, 95.3% said they did not benefit from the exercise while 88% of them indicated that given the chance, they would like to have a rural home.

(g) Genealogy and Migration Patterns
Most Coloureds (68%) could not trace their genealogy beyond their grandparents. 95.7% of these grandparents were Coloured with 88% of them having been born in Zimbabwe, 4% in South Africa and the remainder in either Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi and the United Kingdom. Emigration was equally high among the Coloured community mainly due to the deteriorating economic environment with about 43% leaving for the United Kingdom, 9% for Canada, another 9% for New Zealand with the remainder spread all over continental Europe and the Southern African region.

(h) Identity Issues
The study shows that most respondents (77%) had no problem with being identified as Coloured. However, a good number (74%) were worried that the stereotyping that goes with the term 'Coloured' has led to a bad image of the Coloureds. The other thorny issue was the Double Zero (00) classification on Coloured national identity documents. Most felt that this classification should be changed as it stripped them of their Zimbabwean citizenship. With regards to culture, about 47% followed Western (white) culture while 44% followed both Western and African culture.

The study found out that AIDS was taking a toll on the community with deaths averaging 0 to 3 per family. 72.3% knew of friends and relatives who were living with HIV/AIDS. While 68.9% indicated that they had not attended any AIDS workshop/discussion, they were quite aware of the different ways in which AIDS is contracted, chief among them being sexual promiscuity. Of those who attended such discussions, none of them mentioned or knew of the National Aids Counsel of Zimbabwe (NACZ) notwithstanding that they make financial contributions to this institution through the aids levy contribution.

(j) Gender Issues
The study shows that most Coloured women faced the problem of access to education, seed capital, food, health and lack of support from central government. Spousal abuse was also an issue of concern among Coloured women.

(k) Youth Issues
There was a strong feeling (81.9%) that the future of Coloured youths in Zimbabwe was bleak. Chief among the reasons cited for this included low levels of education, systematic discrimination and systematic exclusion from the mainstream socio-economic and socio-political structures. There were also those who felt that bad company, bad attitudes and lack of responsibility among Coloured youths tended to limit their potential. However, there was a strong feeling that given a conducive environment, Coloured youths had a bright future.

(l) The Way Forward for the Coloured Community
HIV/AIDS and food security were the main areas of concern where the Coloured community expected the donor community, the private sector, central government and other well-wishers to chip in with assistance. The NAAC through advocacy and lobbying of the government expects the land issue and the Double Zero (00) classification on Coloured identity cards to be addressed. Members of the Coloured community also challenged NAAC to concentrate on employment, youth empowerment and education.

Conclusions and Recommendations
The study shows that the condition of the Coloured person in Zimbabwe has not changed much and that Coloureds still remain excluded from the mainstream political and economic structures. The study also shows that HIV/ AIDS awareness is low among the community and yet the pandemic is prevalent. Spousal abuse ranked high among the problems faced by Coloured women. Based on these findings, the following were strongly recommended:

  • Embark on HIV/AIDS programmes through direct assistance.
  • Empower youths through training programmes and remedial education.
  • Embark on action-programmes that address problems faced by women and children.

Restructure the NAAC in a manner that will enhance its operational objectives. In particular an information officer, advocacy officer, and a programme officer should be engaged to provide the secretariat with the capacity to pursue the objectives of the organisation.

Visit the NAAC fact sheet

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.