The Mashonaland Irish Association

A Miscellany 1891-2019

Joseph Woods



With a raucous St Patrick’s Day dinner at Fort Salisbury (Harare) in 1891, a mere seven months after the Pioneer Column raised their flag on Cecil Square, the Mashonaland Irish Association was founded. Not only is it the oldest expatriate association in Zimbabwe, the MIA is the oldest Irish association on the African continent. The association developed into a vehicle for celebrating Irishness through a busy social calendar and welfare programmes. For over a century, the MIA has weathered the various challenges and upheavals of a shared colonial experience and Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence. Today, it continues to celebrate all things Irish while embracing its diaspora as it approaches its thirteenth decade of existence.


Despite being under the yoke of colonialism, many Irish came out to Rhodesia and quickly settled and often prospered, but the MIA rallied those who wanted to retain something of their heritage and came to stand for a certain diversity of experience. This Miscellany provides rich insights on the history of the MIA offering another lens through which to perceive a different layer of Zimbabwe’s complex history. A compelling read for those interested in the history of the MIA which to this day remains a vibrant Irish Association. - H.E. Liam MacGabhann


Joseph Woods is an award winning poet, writer and editor currently resident in Zimbabwe.