The Zimbabwean community came together on Saturday to celebrate the country’s Independence Day celebrations.
Held annually in Shepparton, the event is attended by people from across the Hume region and continues to grow in popularity each year.
Attendees heard from a number of guest speakers, including City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe.
Formerly known as Rhodesia, Zimbabwe gained independence from the British on April 18, 1980.
During the colonial era, freedom for Zimbabweans was limited with many not allowed in some sections of the city and suburbs, including some schools.
A land cessation led to the Rhodesian Bush War, which ended with a ceasefire declared in the Lancaster House Agreement, signed on December 21, 1979.
One of the outcomes from gaining independence was the introduction of free education in the country.
Local Zimbabwean community member Handson Nhanhanga said this was one factor contributing to the high number of skilled migrants in the region.
Mr Nhanhanga said local Zimbabweans treated each other as family and enjoyed working together to achieve positive outcomes for the community.
‘‘We formed an association for Zimbabweans in the Hume area which has made this event successful,’’ he said.
‘‘Most of our relatives are in Zimbabwe hence Zimbabweans who are here are our family members.’’
Cr O’Keeffe was delighted to attend the Independence Day celebrations.
‘‘When a community in Greater Shepparton celebrates something, everyone celebrates with them,’’ she said.
‘‘With around 15 per cent of Greater Shepparton’s population born overseas, council is determined to best serve the many multicultural communities we have in our region.’’