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Facts About Bulawayo

Bulawayo is the second-largest city in Zimbabwe after the capital Harare, with, as of the ever disputed 2012 census, a population of 653,337 while Bulawayo Municipal records indicate a population of 1,200,750. This understating of population by the government is due to the marginalisation of the Matabeleland region by the government since 1980 in a bid to avail less resources. With a population of 620,000 in 1992 Bulawayo cannot have a population of 653 337 20 years later when it is exhausting its land due to housing expansion. It is 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 metropolitan province.
Colloquially Bulawayo is known by other names: "City of Kings", "Skies", "Bluez", or "Ntuthu ziyathunqa" — a Ndebele phrase for "smoke arising". This name arose from the city's historically large industrial base and specifically draws from the large cooling towers of the coal powered electricity generating plant situated in the city centre that once used to billow steam and smoke over the city. The majority of Bulawayo's population belongs to the Ndebele ethnic and language group.
For a long time, Bulawayo was regarded as the industrial centre of Zimbabwe, and it 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.