Euphoria filled the National Sports Stadium in the capital Harare as new Zimbabwe president Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in a ceremony in front of a capacity crowd.
Zimbabweans filled the the 60 000-seater stadium to witness the event that finally sealed the end of deposed former leader Robert Mugabe.
Former Zambia president Kenneth Kaunda joined regional leaders such as President Ian Khama of Botswana, Edgar Lungu of Zambia, former Namibia president Sam Nujoma and Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in what was a carnival atmosphere.
Speaking shortly after being sworn in, Mnangagwa said: "Never and never again shall Zimbabwe be subjected to such suffering."
He made an open appeal to all Zimbabweans to help rebuild the country and even extended an olive branch to the white farmers that were hounded off their lands under the dark years of Mugabe rule.
"We must compensate our farmers in line with our laws," he said as he called for "bygones to be bygones".
He even paid tribute to Mugabe and said the focus of his admnistration will be to get Zimbabwe working again.
"Our quest for development must be premised on a just and equitable society. We want an economy that is back on its feet," he said.
The 75-year-old leader got a round of applause when he mentioned efforts to tackle corruption and the liquidity crisis which has virtually paralysed the country.
"We have to aspire to be a clean nation. To our civil servants, we have an economy to recover and people to serve. Gone are the days of absenteeism."
The man nicknamed The Crocodile promised that his administration would come have down hard on the corrupt.
He declared Zimbabwe open for business and invited international investors to consider an attractive investment destination.
He further called for end to sanctions against the impoverished southern African nation.
"We ask those that have previously punished us to reconsider their position."
Mnangagwa concluded by saying Zimbabwe has a lot of work to do. "The task before us is bigger than competing for political office."
He emphasised that the elections will go ahead as planned and that his job is to serve all Zimbabweans, regardless of colour, religion, ethnicity or creed.