Where Europeans owned and farmed land the determination
to resist majority rule was strong. In Zambia and Malawi, the white minority
gave in and those countries became independent in 1964. Angola and Mozambique
remained tightly bound up with the ruling colonial power of Portugal until the
latter itself underwent a revolution in 1974.
"I have seen wives of men with modest salaries,
who in Europe would have no servants at all, habitually spending the whole
day at bridge and tennis, while leaving the care of their children and even
the keys of the storeroom in hands of native servants. Yet they were constantly
complaining about the native dishonesty and inefficiency."
published in the Sunday Express, Johannesburg, 31 Dec 1936.
Rhodesia was a different case altogether. In
1922 it was declared a self-ruling colony, with the governing being done by
Europeans. There were considerable tensions between white Rhodesians and the
British Colonial Office, which felt an obligation to monitor, however feebly,
the interests of the African population.
In 1961, the Zimbabwean African People's Union (ZAPU) was formed. Two
years later, in 1963, the Zimbabwean African National Union (ZANU) was
formed after splitting off from ZAPU. Both were banned during that year.
In 1965, 35 colonies in Africa were already independent under majority rule.
Ian Smith, the Prime Minister of Rhodesia, made a Unilateral Declaration
of Independence, or UDI, as it became known.
to Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith announcing the Unilateral Declaration
of Independence on radio
to Prime Minister Ian Smith
This was against all the wishes of the British
government, who hoped to help Rhodesia towards majority rule in line with the
rest of the continent. Rhodesia left the Commonwealth and Britain imposed economic
It took another fifteen years of negotiation and fighting before
Rhodesia, renamed Zimbabwe, became independent under majority rule with Robert
Mugabe leading the government in 1980.
to Robert Mugabe address the nation on the eve of Zimbabwean independence
"In the course of human affairs, history has shown that it may become necessary for a people to resolve the political affiliations which have connected them with another people, and to assume amongst other nations a separate and equal status to which they are entitled."
Ian Smith explaining his Unilateral Declaration of Independence on Rhodesian radio, 11 Nov 1965.