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Key findings
  • Overwhelming majorities of Zimbabweans say they would “strongly like,” “somewhat like,” or “not care” about living as neighbours of people of different religions (93%) and different ethnic groups (94%).
  • Majorities also express tolerant attitudes toward people living with HIV/AIDS (94%) and immigrants or foreign workers (87%), although large proportions of “would not care” Copyright © Afrobarometer 2016 2 responses suggest that tolerance for these groups is less enthusiastic than for people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Nearly nine of 10 Zimbabweans (89%) say they would “somewhat dislike” or “strongly dislike” having homosexuals as neighbours. Younger, urban, and more educated citizens are somewhat less intolerant of homosexuality than older, rural, and less educated respondents.

Given Zimbabwe’s diversity of ethnic, religious, national, political, and social backgrounds, peace and stability would be unthinkable without some degree of tolerance for those who are different. On some fronts, the country has struggled with intolerance. One example is political intolerance, played out in inter- and intra-party conflict turning neighbours against each other. Another is intolerance of sexual difference, with President Robert Mugabe leading a sometimes vicious chorus against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals.

How tolerant are Zimbabweans? Afrobarometer Round 6 survey findings may serve as a baseline for efforts aimed at bringing people together and fostering a culture of tolerance where diversity is celebrated.

The findings show that large majorities of Zimbabweans express tolerant attitudes toward people of different religions and ethnic groups, and somewhat less enthusiastically for people living with HIV/AIDS and immigrants. But most are intolerant of homosexuals.

Richman Kokera

Richman Kokera is research officer for MPOI.

Stephen Ndoma

Stephen is the assistant project manager for Southern Africa