Rhodesia, 1965-1979

Alice Dadirai Kwaramba, M. Phil.

The period between 1965 to 1979 was an important one in the history of colonial Rhodesia. The Rhodesia Front had taken over government in 1962 and quickly replaced Prime Minister Winston Field with the more authoritarian Ian Smith who introduced one repressive law after another. This led to mounting discontent among the blacks and a general movement towards militant action. The black people started making more radical demands which resulted in the formation of nationalist political parties. The National Democratic Party (NDP) in early 1962, Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) subsequently. 1 Smith responded to this by taking more drastic measures, declaring the independence of Rhodesia from Britain in 1965, the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). Britain and the rest of the world imposed sanctions on Rhodesia which worsened the living conditions of the blacks both in the rural and the urban areas. These developments further strained relationships between blacks and whites, making an armed struggle for independence almost inevitable. In 1966 the first shots marking the beginning of the armed struggle in Rhodesia were fired.

[from Alice Dadirai Kwaramba, Popular Music and Society: The Language of Chiumurenga Music: The Case of Thomas Mapfumo in Zimbabwe. Oslo: University of Oslo, 1997, page 31.Available from Department of Media and Communications [info@media.uio.no].

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