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Last updated: 16 april, 2010 - 16:49 GMT

Zimbabwe - Celebrating Freedom

Zimbabwe Independence parade in Bulawayo, 18 April 1980

It's now 30 years since Zimbabwe severed its colonial ties with Britain and became an independent nation.

This followed a long armed struggle against white minority rule – a struggle led by Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo.

It was a bitter war and many lost their lives, so the end of the conflict came as a great relief to the country.

Thousands of people packed into the Rufaro football stadium in the capital on 17 April 1980 to watch history being made as the clock struck midnight and the new nation was born.

Amongst the jubilant crowds were the country's newly elected Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, Prince Charles, and even Bob Marley, who had been invited by the new government to perform his song Zimbabwe, dedicated to the liberation movement.

Following independence the country became a beacon of hope in Africa.

It had one of the highest literacy rates on the continent and became a bread basket for the surrounding region.

Admire Taderera

Admire Taderera

But economic mismanagement, corruption and political instability reversed its fortunes.

Zimbabwe now has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world, and poverty and violence is an everyday reality.

Outlook marked the anniversary with a special three part series, from our reporter Steve Vickers, who talked to people about the events of 30 years ago and reflected on the situation today.

Steve heard what life was like for the black majority under white rule, heard from someone who came face to face with Bob Marley during the independence celebrations, and spoke to the 'born frees' - the generation born after the momentous dawn of independence.

Bill Saidi

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Zimbabwe Independence banner in Bulawayo, 18 April 1980

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Biko Mutsarurwa

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