Zimbabwe: High Hopes As Nation Celebrates 38th Independence Anniversary

Zimbabwe celebrates its 38th anniversary of independence across the country today amid euphoria that the country has since November 24 last year laid a firm foundation for massive economic take-off. President Mnangagwa’s coming into office has breathed a sense of urgency in terms of economic development, which had all but disappeared under the previous administration.

This is however not to say the previous administration did virtually nothing meaningful for the economy during its 37 years in power.

Since 1980, the country recorded reasonable developments, particularly on the infrastructure front, and going forward these can only be consolidated.

In Harare, several head-turning buildings such as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Karigamombe Centre, Eastgate Mall, were constructed after independence, as the country positioned itself on a pedestal for economic growth.

Karigamombe Centre, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the Eastgate Mall and Joina City, are some of the top buildings erected after independence.

The RBZ Building and the Karigamombe Centre are some of the numerous buildings designed by a top architect, Mike Clinton.

Mr Clinton did his secondary education at Prince Edward from 1944 to 1949 before moving to South Africa for university education up to 1954.

RBZ Building

Mr Clinton got the all-clear to draw the plan for the RBZ building during the reign of former Governor, Mr Kombo Moyana. It took him almost six years to sketch, design and building the imposing structure.

With a massive 28 floors, the building is undoubtedly the tallest in the country.

It has a height of 120 metres.

Critically, the RBZ is said to be the most technologically advanced building in the country, with high security vaults, banking hall, staff canteen and conference centre.

It was officially opened by former President Mugabe in 1997.

Eastgate Mall

When reading about Zimbabwean architecture, it is difficult not to come across the Eastgate Shopping Mall in Harare’s Central Business District.

Designed by renowned award winning architect Mick Pearce, Eastgate is one of Zimbabwe’s imposing architectural designs that have been the lynchpin and foundation of many thriving businesses started from this heart of the Capital City, Harare.

The structure showcases the beauty of the capital, Harare and is revered world over for being environmentally friendly.

The mall officially opened in 1996. The design was inspired by termites.

Eastgate Mall was designed to be ventilated and cooled naturally and could be the first building in the world to use natural cooling to this level of sophistication, according to Wikipedia.

The building provides 5 600 square metres of retail space, 26 000 square metres of office space and parking for 450 vehicles.

Karigamombe Centre

This is an imposing 21 storey high-rise building situated in central Harare. It is owned by the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) Pension Fund.

The NRZ Pension Fund owns a number of properties among them Karigamombe Centre, Trust Towers and Beverly Court (in Harare) as well as the Holiday Inn in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls Hotel.

Construction of this mammoth building ended in 1985. The building has a ground floor shopping mall and first floor parking deck.

It was also designed by Mr Clinton.

Joina City

Joina City is one of the most iconic post-independence buildings in Harare’s CBD. It is the largest commercial and retail building in Harare.

Construction of the multi-storey complex began in 1998 at an estimated cost of $27 million.

It was completed around 2007.

Joina City is located in central Harare and has become the most popular mall in central Harare.

The complex houses 72 shops.

The structure is approximately 64 000 square metres of gross build and comprises approximately 600 parking bays, 15 415square metres of lettable retail space and 11 436square metres of lettable office space. The building occupies an entire city block, which is the only one of its kind and scale within the centre of the CBD.

Based on an independent valuation performed by CB Richard Ellis, Joina City was valued at $53, 8 million as at December 31, 2010.

Investment vehicle Masawara owns a 40 percent interest in Joina City

“Joina City was developed with the vision of being the most prominent destination in the central business district (CBD) of Harare tenanted by leading institutions and retailers. The retail element of the building is designed to provide a “high end” city shopping mall destination in the central business district (“CBD”) of Harare. The office component has been designed and built to a very high office standard space,” says Masawara. Respected first black architect Mr Vernon Mwamuka designed the building.

ZB Life Towers

Formerly Intermarket Life Towers, ZB Life Towers is a 19 storey office and retail complex.

It was built on the site of the original Meikles hotel which was demolished in 1974.

The building is regarded by many as one of Harare’s most attractive high rise buildings and prestigious business addresses.

ZB Life Towers has commanding views of the city and Africa Unity Square.

It has two parking floors, a ground floor arcade and entrance lobby.

The building houses more than 35 tenants.

Development stalls

The infrastructure development trajectory that took shape up to the late 1990s, took a heavy knock at the turn of the millennium. With negative publicity particularly in Western capitals following the land reform programme.

Investors adopted a wait-and-see-attitude regards committing investment into Zimbabwe.

But since November last year, several investors targeting infrastructure have been stampeding for investments in the country and there are high hopes that huge shopping malls would be erected across the country going forward.

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