| Lionel De Necker|
Gwanda is a town in Zimbabwe. It is the capital of the province of Matabeleland South, one of the 10 administrative provinces in the country. The name Gwanda derives from the Ndebele word Kwanda. Gwanda's largest and oldest suburb derives its name from that of a nearby hill known as Jahunda. Gwanda also refers to the rural district around the town. Towns and districts surrounding Gwanda include Mbalabala, West Nicholson, Filabusi, Esigodini and Matobo.
It is located approximately 122 kilometres (76 mi), by road, southeast of Bulawayo, the nearest large city. This location lies on the Bulawayo-Beitbridge road and railway. The town of Beitbridge, at Zimbabwe's border with the Republic of South Africa, lies approximately 220 kilometres (140 mi), further southeast on Highway A-6. The coordinates of Gwanda, Zimbabwe are: 20° 56' 42.00"S, 29° 01' 30.00"E (Latitude: 20.9450; Longitude: 29.0250). Gwanda sits at an average elevation of 3,284 feet (1,001 m) above sea level.
Gwanda was founded in 1900. The town has a provincial hospital, Gwanda Provincial Hospital, which serves as a referral centre for nearby smaller mission and district hospitals. Services provided include emergency medicine, paediatrics, maternity, eye surgery, minor orthopaedic surgery, general surgery and an expanded immunisation program. The town is the chief centre for south-western Zimbabwe's cattle district and also trades in agricultural produce. There are asbestos, chrome and gold mines around Gwanda.
One of the suburbs of the town is called Jahunda, which is also the name of a nearby hill, from which the town derives its name. Gwanda has four primary schools: (a) Jahunda Primary school (b) St. Christopher's Primary School (c) Mount Cazalet Primary School and (d) Senondo Primary School. The two secondary schools are: (i) Gwanda High School and (ii) Gwanda Government Secondary School. There is a nursing school; Gwanda School of Nursing, affiliated with the provincial hospital. The main stadium is called Phelandaba Stadium. It is home to Njube Sundowns, a Zimbabwe premiere league football team. ZB Bank Limited maintains a branch in town. Another commercial bank, Royal Bank Zimbabwe, also had a branch in Gwanda.
According to the 1982 Population Census, the town had a population of 4,874. The town chiefs refused to acknowledge the results of the 1992 census as they felt they had been undercounted. Officially, that disputed figure was 10,565. In 2004, the population of the town was estimated at 14,450.
The former president of Zambia, Rupiah Banda, was born in this town, in a place called Miko.