Rhodesia: Anticommunism or racism?

Discussion in 'Postwar' started by Warlord, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    I have been reading about the conflict in Rhodesia for the last month or so, and have stumbled upon both the anticommunism and racism subjects; while the general background to the war depicts it as your typical cold war back-alley brawl, the inevitable "hold my hand black boy, you'll be lost without me", or "neat white farm opposed to tribal trust land in utter despair" sentences pop up all over.

    I was a bit young when this conflict happened, and thus need your help lads to get to understand the entire deal; the mix is a bit sticky, if you consider the UN sanctions, Blighty providing military support to newly formed Zambia, which ever since the beginning was a backer to one of the main terrorist groups involved, etc. etc.

    What was it all about, then?
  2. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    The situation was very simple. British de-colonisation policy was free and fair elections across the whole electorate (ie all over the age of 21 no matter what race), eg as happened in Kenya.

    The white minority in S Rhodesia did not accept this and their leader Ian Smith unilaterally declared independence in late 1966, this involved all political power being held by the white minority. Obviously this wasn't acceptable to the black indigenous majority, and the rest of the world (excluding S Africa of course, and the Portugese in Angola and Mozambique). Insurrection ensued and eventually triumphed, led by the a'hole Mugabe.
  3. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Was thinking of asking a couple more cuestions, but will let these paragraphs talk for me:

    " POLITICAL HARANGUING BETWEEN RHODESIA AND Britain had been ongoing since the granting of independence to Zambia and Malawi because Britain had failed to do the same for Rhodesia, despite her promises. Additionally, the British Government had undertaken not to interfere in Rhodesia’s internal affairs and had endorsed the need to retain the tribal chiefs. But again, both of these important issues were conveniently forgotten.

    In October 1964, many countries sent their observers to the biggest gathering of chiefs ever held in the country but Britain, supposedly the ‘responsible power’ for Rhodesia, refused to attend. Earlier, when the chiefs had sent a delegation to London to make their views known to the British Government, they were snubbed by Commonwealth Secretary Duncan Sandys and returned to Rhodesia deeply enraged by this discourtesy.

    Realising that Britain had no interest or knowledge concerning the protocols and needs of the African people of Rhodesia, the chiefs gave their unanimous support to the RF to proceed to independence under the 1961 Constitution, which Britain had already ratified. Then, on 5 November, a referendum showed that 89% of the largely white electorate supported the chiefs’ stance, thereby giving the RF authority to unilaterally declare Rhodesia’s independence. The decision had not been an easy one but the ever-changing stance of the Conservatives made it crystal clear that they had absolutely no intention of holding to their word. This was the solemn promise to Rhodesia of independence in exchange for her cooperation in dissolving the Federation; despite such action being in conflict with the British Government’s own recorded and declared principle that, “the Federation was indissoluble”. If the Conservatives were bad news, the Labour Party’s victory in October was expected to make things worse, considering the rhetoric of pre-election speeches.

    Just prior to coming to power, the new British Prime Minister Harold Wilson had made it known that the Labour Government “is totally opposed to granting independence to Southern Rhodesia as long as the Government of that country remains under control of the white minority." He had certainly misread things because Ian Smith’s RF Party, the chiefs and the electorate were dedicated to the retention of ‘responsible government’. It was from British politicians that racist definitions were generated; certainly not Rhodesia whose people had accepted the terms of the 1961 Constitution that underlined the undertaking of ‘unimpeded progress to majority government’.

    The track record of independent black governments in Africa made it clear to all Rhodesians that progress to black rule had to be handled with great care if the country was not to be reduced to a shambles by self-seeking despots. It was contended that we owed it to the black folk as much as to the whites to continue to build on the strong foundation of the country’s existing infrastructures and wealth and to develop a healthy middle class from which future politicians, black and white, would emerge.

    The possibility of Rhodesia declaring herself independent occupied Whitehall’s attention to such an extent that veiled threats of dire action began to flow. That the governments of black Africa and the communist-dominated OAU were pressurising Britain was obvious because, in response to every move the RF made seeking fair play, the Labour Party, like the Conservatives before them, simply moved the goal posts. Rhodesia’s need to take matters into her own hands to stymie the communist-orchestrated line was becoming more certain."

    The Rhodesian point of view, quote from "Winds of Destruction: The Autobiography of a Rhodesian Combat Pilot", by Peter Petter-Bowyer.

    Am still puzzled...
  4. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    I was in Zambia during the conflict. Nkomo and Mugabe had military camps near our house. The black Southern Rhodesians had been away from their families for years and fought for their liberty. When Zimbabwe came into existence few got the land that they were promised. Mugabe quickly got rid of Nkomo (by making veiled threats so that Nkomo fled the country). I do think that Nkomo would have been a much better leader and Mugabe is evil, not caring for his people. Even aid sent to feed them is only given to his supporters. I am not a supporter of violence but I could happily choke that man. He has ruined a beautiful, bounteous country that was known as the ' Garden of Africa' yet many are starving.
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    All I know about it is we had some of my Gran's old friends turn up from there.
    The husband was born here, his wife over there.
    They had left 'Rhodesia' as they always called it with not much stuff.
    They were of that older generation who had endless tennis parties & the colonial lifestyle, he called the Blacks 'damned munts' , mentioned a Black bank robber who was shot & body left to rot on the street for a few days.
    They had a 'Boy' who looked after their place .
    They weren't allowed to bring too much money out of the country & were , in later years, always asking me about Registered post from Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) as if I knew where every item on international mail was.
    My Uncle couldn't stand them & their outlook.
    They often moaned about the state on the UK & the weather , as if life under Mugabe was so much better.

    They're both dead now.
  6. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Can't quote the book in this case, because there's no single paragraph that depicts this "relationship" with enough depth. However, the essence of Chapter 10 (last before the epilogue) is that after Lancaster House, Rhodesians finally came to realize that Nkomo (ZIPRA), was the lesser of two evils, compared with Mugabe (ZANLA). Where ZIPRA stayed within agreed territorial boundaries, ZANLA did not; when ZIPRA sent the majority of its troops to the Assembly Points, ZANLA kept them back in Mozambique, and those who went to Rhodesia did so disguised as civilians and returning refugees, with orders to "persuade" voters during the coming elections; where ZIPRA's fighters were armed with their everyday AKs, ZANLA paraded mujibas (boys and teens with little or no military experience) "armed" with dilapidated SKS (and without ammo, too); Mugabe paid an East German hitman to kill Josiah Tongorara, ZANLA's top commander, who was leaning too much towards a true settlement between all the warring factions; and so on...
  7. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    I have met many white 'refugees' from Southern Rhodesia and most are arrogant and expected their high life to continue back in UK. They go a hellova shock when they came back. Their attitude was that the 'munts' were stupid and should'nt be running their own country. Most of the Africans could speak several languages whereas the whites spoke English and a type of pigeon called 'Bemba' - so who were the stupid ones? Northern Rhodesia when it became Zambia had a smoother transition and although it became a 'one party democracy' (which always puzzled me) the President Kaunda seemed an okay guy. It has never got back to being the 'garden of Africa' as the people who were given land only want to grow enough for their own use plus a little to sell. The biggest mistake that Westerners make is to try an civilize them - as they called it. Africans have their own civilization which is different from ours. You will notice that many of the troubled areas are run by Africans that were UK educated.
  8. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Well-Known Member

    There are those who argue that Southern Rhodesia as a self-governing colony did not need to declare independence, often called Unilateral Declaration Independence (UDI) on the 11th November 1965. Even the Governor, a Crown appointee on the Rhodesian government's nomination, was a Rhodesian; he was Sir Humphrey Gibbs. See: Humphrey Gibbs - Wikipedia

    When I immersed myself in researching UDI I found a quote by Denis Healey, the Labour government's Secretary of Defence, in which he sadly stated only Rhodesians should decide what would be their future. No British soldiers intervening, as some supported.

    For many years the Rhodesian government led by Ian Smith refused to make concessions to the African majority, by time he did the nationalist guerilla campaign had started in earnest. Personally I am not convinced either side could compromise.

    What I did not realise for a long time was that the majority of the European (white) population were urban dwellers, a good proportion had emigrated there post-1945 (a good number influenced by their wartime flying training there). Their standard of living was high and they simply supported Ian Smith in resisting change. The farming community was far smaller, with a good number of Afrikaners and relied on African labour to make a living.

    Labelling, perhaps rightly, the nationalists as communists fitted the Rhodesian image of standing alone to preserve "Western" standards and trying to appeal for external support. The nationalists after 1980 we soon learnt were after power and "feathering their own nest", particularly taking possession of farm land.
  9. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Its all going swimmingly well there at the moment

    warning warning Masonic alert

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