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  1. ZIMBABWE Oppression, Hope, Disappointment and Horror

  2. Location

  3. Colonization 1890: Great Britain colonizes Zimbabwe, calls it Rhodesia after the brutal conqueror of much of southern Africa. Its excellent farmland attracts many white settlers who seize the best land. Cecil Rhodes 

  4. And more colonization 1950s-1060s: Whites stream into the region from other African areas such as Kenya which are becoming independent black-ruled countries. The population of whites peaks at just under 5% of the total population.

  5. The Troubles Begin By the late 1960s, the British colony of Rhodesia came to be ruled by a racist group of whites called the Rhodesian Front led by Ian Smith. The RF vowed to resist the wave of decolonization across the globe, and did not trust the British to keep looking out for the interests of Rhodesia’s whites who held all of the political and economic power despite being only 4-5% of the population. Ian Smith

  6. The Rhodesian Front’s Worries With much invested in Africa, the RF was afraid that Great Britain would pull out of the region completely and hand the Africans their independence against the will of the white settlers. Having treated the native blacks terribly, they feared both revenge and an end to their prosperous farms and businesses if power were to be handed over to the original inhabitants of the land. The whites viewed their land and their thriving cities as a rising success story, and did not want the wave of African decolonization to jeopardize that. With black Africans pushed to the least productive lands and greatly outnumbering the whites, the potential for trouble upon independence was considerable.

  7. And More Worries Black leaders in the colony of Rhodesia did little to ease the fear of the whites. Their most prominent leaders sympathized with Communists and spoke of redistributing land and power to native Africans if the whites’ monopoly on power could be broken. With too little to go around, the whites felt that “sharing” would end up making everyone poor.

  8. Declaration of Independence 1965: Unable to get Great Britain to guarantee continuation of white colonial rule, Prime Minister Smith’s RF declared its own independence from Britain and became the independent country of Rhodesia determined to hold onto white rule. Great Britain was not happy, and cut off most aid to the new country. All ties to Great Britain were cut by 1970.

  9. Independent Rhodesia Thanks to continued trade (but little investment) from South Africa, Israel, Portugal, the United States and a few Arab nations, the new country did not fall apart. Instead, the new government focused on growing crops for itself, which hurt black farmers the most since under colonialism they had grown the food while the white farms grew products for export. Frightened by black leaders’ calls for making whites share their wealth , Rhodesian whites called the blacks Communists and pleaded for help from anti-Communist countries. Video:

  10. The Bush War BEGINS 1972: With no end to white rule in sight, the majority Shona tribe in the north (operating out of Zambia) and their traditional rivals, the smaller Ndebele tribe in the South (operating out of Mozambique), began to fight for their freedom from white rule. They wanted independence and a majority-rule government like every other country in Sub-Saharan Africa with the sole exception of South Africa. This eight-year armed conflict is known as the Bush Waror the Rhodesian War.

  11. The Bush War Continues Armed far better than the African rebels, the white-led Rhodesian Army held off the equality-seeking blacks, increasing using common farmers as soldiers. The entire country can be considered the war’s loser, as its economy and development were severely disrupted.

  12. Bush War Facts Thousands killed on each side, Each side targeted civilians at times, Most of the soldiers fighting to protect Rhodesia’s white government were black.

  13. THE Bush War Ends In 1979 the British helped negotiate a peace treaty in which a government would be elected by everyone in Rhodesia--both black and white, the rights of minorities (including whites) would be protected, and private property would be left alone. Exhausted by war, Ian Smith accepted the deal and most whites chose to stay in the new country.

  14. Rhodesia Becomes Zimbabwe In 1980 the British supervised free and fair elections, and a new government was chosen to lead the new black-led country. No longer known as Rhodesia, it was now called Zimbabwe.

  15. Robert Mugabe The new Prime Minister of Zimbabwe was Robert Mugabe, who had led the Shona people’s ZANU rebels in the war. Well-educated and promising “justice” for Blacks before and during the war, he promised to treat all races and tribes as equals, and encouraged Zimbabwe’s whites not to leave. This was before he became a power-hungry tyrant.

  16. Independent Zimbabwe 1980-1985: Zimbabwe’s first few years were good ones as… • All races and tribes participated in the new government, • The economy boomed with the end of the war and the return of international aid and trade, and a general global economic expansion, • Mugabe did not attempt to seize the wealth of the rich and redistribute it to the poor. He claimed fair redistribution would wait until the new country was more stable.

  17. And Then It Started to Turn… 1982-1988: Not trusting the Ndebele people to the South who had fought for independence independently from the Shona in the North, Mugabe used his new North Korean-trained private army to start violence against his Ndebele critics. Called the “Gukarahundi” (Shona for “the early rain that washes away the chaff before the spring rains”), over 20,000 were killed, and a similar number fled the country. Since few whites were involved, this government-led violence was all but ignored by the world.

  18. From Prime Minister to President 1987: With his opposition weakened and silenced, Mugabe ended the violence in the South, brought what was left of the Ndebele leadership into his ZANU Party, and renamed it the ZANU-PF Party which still controls Zimbabwe today. Once the single party was established, Mugabe had the votes to change the constitution to make himself “President”. Zimbabwe had, in effect, become a one-man dictatorship like most countries in Africa at the time.

  19. The 1990s: Things Fall Apart As Mugabe’s rule entered its second decade, a few factors pushed Zimbabwe into decline: • Corruption and incompetence in Mugabe’s government, • Decline in the price of farm goods hurt profits, • 25% of the population became infected with HIV/AIDS, • Not enough jobs for its growing population, • White Zimbabweans held 70% of the good farmland, • The world’s attention turned to South Africa, • Inflation started running out of control

  20. Mugabe’s Plan Unable to solve Zimbabwe’s problems and terrified that the people would turn against him, Mugabe attempted to distract the populace from its problems and regain favor by turning the races against each other. He did this by blaming poverty on the fact that most of the good lands and businesses were still white-owned, and promising to once again “free” his people from this alleged white tyranny.