General Information About BulawayoBulawayo is the second-largest city in Zimbabwe after the capital Harare, with, as of the 2012 census, a population of 653,337. It is located in Matabeleland, 439 km (273 mi) southwest of Harare, and is now treated as a separate provincial area from Matabeleland. The capital of Matabeleland North is now Lupane, as Bulawayo is a stand-alone province. Colloquially Bulawayo is also known by various names, these being the 'City of Kings', 'Skies', 'Bluez', 'Bulliesberg' or 'KoNtuthu ziyathunqa' – an Ndebele phrase for "a place that continually exudes smoke". This name arose from the city's historically large industrial base. The majority of the Bulawayo's population belongs to the Ndebele ethnic and language group. For a long time in Zimbabwe's history Bulawayo was regarded as the industrial centre of Zimbabwe and the city served as the hub to the country's rail network with the National Railways of Zimbabwe headquartered there because of its strategic position near Botswana and South Africa. It is the nearest large city to Hwange National Park, Matobo National Park and Victoria Falls.
Bulawayo Culture and HistoryThe city was founded by the Ndebele king, Lobengula the son of King Mzilikazi kaMatshobana who settled in modern-day Zimbabwe around the 1840s after the Ndebele people's great trek from Zululand. The name Bulawayo comes from the isiNdebele word KoBulawayo meaning 'a place where he is being killed.' It is thought that at the time of the formation of the city, there was a civil war and a group of Ndebeles not aligned to Prince Lobengula were fighting him as they felt he was not the heir to the throne, hence he gave his capital the name 'where he (the prince) is being killed'.
It is said that when King Lobengula named the place "KoBulawayo" his generals asked "who is being killed mtanenkosi (prince)?" and he replied "Yimi umntwanenkosi engibulawayo", meaning "its me the prince who is being killed". At the time Lobengula was just a prince fighting to ascend his father's (Mzilikazi) throne. It was common at the time for people to refer to Bulawayo as "KoBulawayo UmntwaneNkosi" "a place where they are fighting or rising against the prince". The name Bulawayo is imported from Nguniland which is a place once occupied by the Khumalo people. The place still exists and it is next to Richards Bay.