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Major factions in this camp included the Zimbabwe African National Union (led by Robert Mugabe from 1975), and the Zimbabwe African People's Union (led by Joshua Nkomo from its founding in the early 1960s).Proto-Shona-speaking societies first emerged in the middle Limpopo valley in the 9th century before moving on to the Zimbabwean highlands.This Shona state ruled much of the area that is known as Zimbabwe today, and parts of central Mozambique.
Contemporary African political leaders were reluctant to criticise Mugabe, who was burnished by his anti-imperialist credentials, though Archbishop Desmond Tutu called him "a cartoon figure of an archetypal African dictator".
This was the precursor to the more impressive Shona civilisations that would dominate the region during the 13th to 15th centuries, evidenced by ruins at Great Zimbabwe, near Masvingo, and other smaller sites.
The main archaeological site uses a unique dry stone architecture.
It was once known as the "Jewel of Africa" for its prosperity.
Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in 1980, when his ZANU-PF party won the elections following the end of white minority rule; he was the President of Zimbabwe from 1987 until his resignation in 2017.