Information on the prevalence of headache and its characteristic features was collected from an urban population in Zimbabwe, using a combination of interview and questionnaire. Over five thousand people were questioned and the prevalence of headache was found to be 20.2% (17.6% in males and 27.0% in females). Severe headaches were experienced by approximately one third of the headache group and were more common in the younger age groups and in women. One third of the people with headaches had warning symptoms and more than half had precipitating factors. Several other features such as frequency, duration, site, age of onset and treatment sought were studied. The headaches described were classified, the most important finding being the infrequent occurrence of classical migraine.