Friday, November 30, 2007

A Millionaire’s Tipple

This photo is doing the rounds at the moment.

It is the story of a beer. That beautiful brown stuff we all love. Real Rhodies drank only Castle. Now, this beer in the photo, cost at a bar in Harare the other day, Z$ 1.000 000 (One million!)

The poor person wanting to drink this beer had to first cue for hours at the bank to get money. It is hard to believe, but there is a shortage of the stuff at the moment. Eventually he got some, but only in Z$500 notes. (Dunno why one pile has a 1000 label, but the rest are obviously 500 notes.)

As you can see, it came to four huge ‘bricks’ of the stuff, each a quarter million, to pay for the beer. Now remember, in August last year, the government lobbed three zeros of the currency, to ‘curb inflation’! That would have made it 1 billion.

Now, look at the next photo. This is what I used in 1978 to pay for a beer in the Midlands hotel in Gwelo.

Some of you might recall a spoof I did a while back about Zimbabwe and the Guinness Book of records. Now it is no joke – this is taken from the Zim Independent

ZIMBABWE yesterday broke a new record by being the only country in the
world with a national budget running into quadrillions (15 zeroes),
reflecting its highest inflation on the globe, and possibly making another
dramatic entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Finance minister Samuel Mumbengegwi presented a $7,8 quadrillion
budget to parliament amid disbelief among MPs and the public about the
government’s chaotic fiscal policy.

Mumbengegwi, whose budget concept and delivery were widely described
as "pathetic", dramatised his failure to measure up to the task by even
failing to read budget figures before him. The minister pronounced the
figures wrongly before giving up when it became clear he was mixing up

MPs laughed while the public watched in disbelief.

Mumbengegwi’s budget was $7 840 000 000 000 000. According to the US
weights and measures system — which Zimbabwe uses in monetary issues — this
figure is $7,8 quadrillions.

However, if converted to the US dollars, it comes down to a mere
US$5,3 billion at the Old Mutual Implied Rate of US$1: Z$1,5 million. If the
official rate of $30 000 is used the figure jumps to a massive $261 billion
but this does not reflect the real value of the budget.

In US measurements, figures with six zeroes are a million, nine zeroes
is a billion, 12 zeroes is a trillion, 15 zeroes is a quadrillion.

The next figure after this is a quintillion (18 zeroes) followed by a
sextillion (21 zeroes) and it goes up to googol for 100 zeroes and then
infinite after 600 zeroes. No country has a quadrillion in the world today.

Due to hyperinflation, Zimbabwe’s budgets could soon deteriorate to
quintillions. Officially, Zimbabwe has the highest inflation of more than 14

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Time for some laughs.

Well, the legacy of Ian Smith will be debated for years to come. Listening to some views from non-Rhodesians, I saw a common pattern. They accused Smith of being the one who created Mugabe. A comparison would be that retributions imposed on Germany after the WW1 created Adolf Hitler. It’s a lot more complicated than that!

It was very interesting to read the condolences and comments written by loads of people on the Bush Telegraph forum site. A few people I recognised. Quite moving to read them all.

Well, the show must go on! Oddly enough, Ian Smiths death coincided with my first exam for my latest course, Writing Plays! Yup, I am going to be a playwright. (Why it isn’t spelled playwrite, is beyond me.)

Well, not really. I thought it would be a good idea to give it a go, because it might help me polishing up dialogue and force me to use more precise descriptions.

Here is the exam –

You should present an outline idea for a short play based on ‘The Three Little Pigs’.
A complete cast list (max 200 words)
The outline scenario for the whole play, dividing the action up into scenes and writing briefly what happens in each one. (max 300 words)
A complete scene, using 2 main characters and no more than 2 subsidiary characters. The scene should incorporate a longer speech or monologue (70 -100 words) for one of the characters. The scene should be a maximum of 3 minutes in length

First problem, there are many versions of the three little pigs. So I did some research like all good writers do.

Hard to believe, but I came across a version, with exactly the same illustrations as the one I used to read to my baby brother in early ‘70s. This is the version I remember.
In this one, all the pigs get the building materials donated by local NGO’s.

Two pigs get eaten and the wolf gets boiled to death, whilst the third pig watches grinning his head off! It was a Ladybird book. They were the best, with really well drawn, detailed pictures. Now that’s the version I like. Clear, precise, to the point and prepares kids for the outside world.

The moral of the story is very clear – Either get a job as a brickie, or stay at school and qualify for a job so you can pay for one, otherwise…

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

your fucked!

But we have to look for other examples…

The BBC kiddies web site has an animated active version. In it, no one gets hurt, the pigs suffer from xenophobia. (Having not been told by mother pig to watch out for the wolf who might want to eat them, therefore, they simply refuse the wolf entry to their houses because he looks strange. The wolf at no time says he wants to eat them.) The first two pigs are promoted as being lazy, idiots and cowards. The building materials are conveniently ‘found’. I.E. the story promotes theft as being a way of life.
Finally, in a pathetic showdown, the three pigs (who are ludicrously called Tom, Dick and Harry), join forces and blow the wolf away. Total load of brainless waffle. I was gob smacked after watching it. The characters were completely characterless; the animations couldn’t animate attention even from a liberal in solitary confinement in Mugabes’ cells for the last 20 years.

This is political correctness at the extreme. At the end of the story, the only thing you ponder over is, if you would get caught blowing up the BBC. The moral of this story, is to leave school at 14, become a cowardly thief and blow away, with your mates, anyone not in your sphere of understanding beyond having unprotected sex and binge drinking.

I didn’t dare go and look if they have raped any more classic tales. I can see it –

The 3 Goats William and the Asylum Seeker under the bridge.

In this up-to date scenario, two goats apologise for not understanding the asylum seekers plight, are short of a few quid, but the biggest Willie will sort him out. He duly arrives with a truck full of U.N. aid relief. The asylum seeker is eternally grateful, becomes a vegetarian and spends his life helping the handicapped cross the bridge, when he aint signing-on.

With my blood really boiling, I wrote my play.

It contains everything I could think of for getting failed. Rampant violence, blasphemy, racism, petty childish quips and quirks, pathetic innuendos and drunken acting! I couldn’t fit in any incest or homosexuality because I ran out of words, BUT I did get some rape in! The play only took 7 minutes to write, as there is very little dialogue besides squeals and howls. Most of the page is taken up with stage directions, things like –

PIG 1 is now bludgeoned to death with baseball bat by WOLF, who is pissed and stoned out of his head. When finished WOLF takes a line of coke and picks up chain-saw and walks over to PIG 2 whilst fondling his penis, which now has a huge erection.

I entitled my masterpiece –

I’m a Celebrity Wolf, Get the Pigs Out of Here.

I based it on a T.V. program.

Nah, not really, but Ian’s passing did add extra, emotionally inspired dramatics, to my play. The idea had been formulated already.

So here is MY version of the three little pigs. It is just a coincidence that my pigs are white and the wolf is black. There are black pigs. That’s where we get black puddings from, right! And of course, there are white wolves because Jack London tells us so. But I tried to stick to the classic tale. You are more than welcome to read this out to your children and even maybe act out the last scene. They will learn lots!

I think I should get at least 55% for this effort!

4th December 2007 - this has been removed as it was contravening Open University regulations.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ian Smith - "What has that to do with me?"

Taken from Reuters Web site. Wed 21 Nov 2007

Smith is history for hard-pressed Zimbabweans

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabweans battling massive inflation and chronic food shortages on Wednesday showed little inclination to reflect on the death of Rhodesia's last white leader.

Ian Smith, who defied the world for 15 years and plunged the country into war, died in South Africa on Tuesday aged 88.

But for a population ravaged by a severe economic crisis many blame on President Robert Mugabe, who took power after the country finally became independent Zimbabwe in 1980, Smith was already yesterday's man.

"He was a historic relic, and many people are concerned today about their daily lives, about survival," said Eldred Masunungure, a political analyst.

Under Mugabe's 27-year rule Zimbabwe has plunged from prosperity to penury. The country once called the "bread basket" of southern Africa is now suffering from persistent shortages of foreign currency, fuel, food, drugs and electricity.

Shops are largely empty of basic foodstuffs.

Zimbabweans scrounge daily to find commodities, including the staple maize meal, bread, milk, sugar, beef and cooking oil, which are now sold on the black market at prices much higher than those set by the government.

An estimated 3 million Zimbabweans -- a quarter of the national population -- have sought jobs and homes abroad, many of them illegally, as they flee the crumbling economy.

Many ordinary blacks still resent Smith for resisting black majority rule, but they are too preoccupied with the daily toil of survival to give much thought to him.


There was no public grieving for "Good Old Smithy" as he was known to his white followers.

An elderly white woman shopping for grocery bargains at a city supermarket on Wednesday morning shrugged her shoulders when asked about Smith's death.

"What has that to do with me?" she said, walking away.

Smith occupied no formal position after leaving parliament but maintained that the country was better off under his rule and that Mugabe had ruined Zimbabwe.

"He (Mugabe) should have gone long ago. He has ruined a wonderful country," Smith told Reuters in 2000.

Mugabe dismisses white Zimbabweans opposed to his rule as hankering for Smith's racist Rhodesia.

The white population, estimated to have shrunk to about 40,000, has kept a low political profile since often violent farm seizures by Mugabe's supporters started seven years ago.

Political commentator and leading Mugabe critic John Makumbe told Reuters TV that Smith had died a disappointed man because his dream of stopping majority rule had been shattered but that he had similar to traits to Mugabe.

"They are very unfortunate similarities between Robert Mugabe and Ian Smith in terms of practising racism, violence, bad governance and bad policies," he said.

"But that must not be taken to mean Ian Smith is vindicated but just that Robert Mugabe inherited certain traits from Smith," Makumbe said.

Mugabe blames the collapse of Zimbabwe's once thriving economy on Western sabotage but foreign critics say it is the result of chronic mismanagement.

Ian Smith - World Opinion 1965

'We Want Our Country'

Taken from TIME magazine Friday 5th November 1965

The Prime Minister of Rhodesia stood tall and thin in the cavernous banquet hall of the Meikles Hotel. Before him sat the leaders of Salisbury society, formally attired. They had raised glasses in a toast to their Queen, but nodded approvingly when he warned that they might soon be leaving her realm. Now they listened silently as Ian Smith, in the flat, nasal accent of the settler, read from the eve-of battle speech of Henry V: "That he which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart. He today that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother, and gentlemen in England, now abed, shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here." When he finished, the Salisbury Municipal Orchestra played God Save the Queen.

Another throng of the Queen's subjects poured onto the tarmac of Salisbury Airport last week, but there were no leaders of society among them. For they were black, and had straggled in from the African townships of Harare and Highfield outside the city. They crowded onto balconies, perched in jacaranda trees, and clung to flagpoles around the airport building. More than 6,000 of them were squeezed in alight mass, hemmed in on one side by a 12-ft. wire fence, on the other by a cordon of police and their dogs. When the R.A.F. Comet whistled to a stop and the chubby, unsmiling man appeared at the cabin door, they loosed a thundering cheer. "Mambokadzi tinoda nyi-ka yehu!" roared the black Rhodesians who had come to greet Harold Wilson last week. "Your Majesty the Queen, we want our country!"

The British Prime Minister had come to Rhodesia to try, somehow, to prevent the white-supremacist colonial regime of Ian Smith from seizing independence. It was as critical a mission as Wilson had ever undertaken. The United Nations had urged sanctions to starve the settlers out. Some African states were talking of leaving the Commonwealth. And Wilson himself had talked grimly of the "bloodbath" that might follow a unilateral declaration of independence. At home, where many Britons had blood ties with the settlers, he was under heavy fire to salvage some sort of solution, if only a delay that would prove that Britain had done its best.

Road to Suicide? Wilson's chances seemed slight. In his talks with Smith last month in London, it had become painfully clear that neither side would make any meaningful compromise on the fundamental issue. The British would give Rhodesia its freedom only on condition that the nation's 4,000,000 blacks be guaranteed control of the government within the foreseeable future. To most of the 220,000 whites, however, that would be suicide. They offered only two meaningless gestures: allowing more blacks to vote for the 15 African seats in parliament, and the creation of an almost powerless senate composed of twelve African chiefs (who depend for their livelihood on the government). Any further freedoms for the blacks were absolutely refused.

The Rhodesians are determined that the blacks will never rule. Deep in their hearts, they believe that the first African government would murder them in their beds and drive them off the land. As Africa's former colonies have been granted their freedom, the settlers have shaken their heads in dismay. They talk of the violence of the Congo, of the autocracy of Ghana, of Communist penetration everywhere, and of the fate of their cousins in Kenya. If the blacks get more freedom in Rhodesia, says one leading supporter of Smith, "there will be a Mau Mau here."

The Bluster. The white man's fate in the new black African nations has not been all that bad. Kenya's Mau Mau terrorism stopped at the first signs that independence would be granted, and the brutal slaughters of the Congo are so far the exception in Africa rather than the rule. The initial period of white panic and black exultation is past —a period that saw wholesale departures of colonial civil servants who took their "lumpers" (severance pay) when their jobs were "Africanized," or the thousands of European farmers who pulled up stakes and fled, out of some misbegotten sense of guilt and impending bloodshed.

The fact is that the whites who have remained are still working and raising their families in every one of Africa's 29 new black states—if for no other reason than that they are needed. For all his anticolonialist bluster, Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah depends heavily on the 5,000 Britons (and scores of Americans) who live in his country, engineering dams and power projects, running factories and keeping trade channels open. Despite the horrors of the past, there are now 60,000 Belgians spread throughout the Congo (which once had 90,000), and the nation's industries, commerce and transport systems could not work without them. Last week the Congo's President Joseph Ka-savubu went out of his way to assure "all foreigners living in the Congo" that "this is their country; they have their investments here."

Eager Italians. Throughout Africa, many departed whites have returned, or else have been replaced by newcomers from Europe. British railway workers, fired by the Kenya government at the demand of its labor unions, were back on their jobs a year later at much higher pay; too many trains had been going off the tracks. In the Congo's fertile Kivu region, deserted Belgian farmlands have been snapped up by eager Italians who are now making money hand over fist. Attracted by high salaries and a booming, open economy, the French population of the Ivory Coast has doubled in the past five years.

Throughout West Africa—and elsewhere as well—the relations between white and black are easier than they ever were under the colonial regimes. "Today we can say things to Africans that they would never have accepted before, simply because it is no longer the master talking," says a French Africa veteran. Adds a black waiter in Abidjan: "There is no racial discrimination here, only social differences."

Actually, individual whites have never held much land in West Africa, hence that region has been spared the embittered struggles between black and white that have cropped up in the cooler, more habitable reaches of the east. Even in the bloody Congo, Belgians blame themselves for much of the chaos and exonerate the Congolese for the slaughters that followed independence on the grounds that it was nothing more than tribal ebullience—long restrained by Belgian rule—expressing itself at the agitation of Communists.

Whites who have remained in Africa have stayed on in a less vocal but surprisingly more active role. The large white trading companies in former British West Africa are busier today than ever, and there is no sign of their withdrawal now or in the foreseeable future. Living standards for whites have inevitably progressed with the jet and transistor age: fresh newspapers and delicacies from Europe abound in African cities; Belgian pleasure craft swarm on the Congo River of a weekend; a few theaters in each capital allow whites to keep at least some touch with European culture.

Some countries have been tougher on whites than others. Prime examples: Tanzania, which as Tanganyika once had 22,700 whites, now has 17,000. Last year Julius Nyerere's oft-muddled government confiscated 34,000 acres of rich white-owned farmlands merely to assuage African resentments (and perhaps to undercut Communist pressures from within the government). But even at that, Tanzania's Agriculture Minister is a moderate ex-colonial, Derek Bryceson, who was overwhelmingly re-elected last month as a Government Party stalwart. Salaam is as benign and friendly a city as a European could hope to visit.

After Uhuru, What? Of all the newly independent black nations, Kenya provides the closest parallel to what Rhodesia might face if "one man, one vote" came true. It had a large population of white settlers (60,000 v. Rhodesia's 220,000), many of whom owned vast tracts in the "white highlands" northwest of Nairobi. Soon after uhuru, the government of Jomo Kenyatta bought up thousands of acres in the white highlands—at fair prices but with no refusal—and turned the land over to land-hungry Kikuyu families as part of Kenyatta's political debt to the tribe. Down came the trim hedges and the lofty stands of trees that the English farmers had so cherished; up went ramshackle huts and fields of maize.

Many whites bugged out in despair; others sold their farms but took jobs flying bush planes, running tourist camps, still staying in the grand, gaudy country they loved. Today, there are And Dares-41,000 whites in Kenya, and they are by their own testimony happier than they were before uhuru. From the four Kenya races—African, Asian, European and Arab—Jomo Kenyatta has forged the closest thing to a united nation that can be found in black Africa. More important, the four African ethnic groups —Bantu, Nilotic, Nilot-Hamitic and the Hamites—are in greater harmony now than ever before, much to the relief of whites and Asians who might otherwise feel their random wrath.

Sir Michael Blundell, a busky-cheeked pioneer who came out to Kenya 40 years ago with only a shotgun on his back, was ready to retire to England just a year ago. After a disappointing political comedown following uhuru, he felt the country did not need him. Now he plans to stay on in his fieldstone farmhouse above Nakuru as a brewery director. Says Blundell, who was in charge of putting down the Mau Mau insurrection: "I know now that there is no relationship between the African's outlook today and what it was before. He is much happier and more contented. It is stupid to embark on a policy which must fundamentally turn the African into your enemy. You would then have to control him ad infinitum, and that isn't bloody possible."

Totally Unfounded. Curious and moving testimony on black Africa's behalf was delivered fortnight ago when Lord Delamere, the very symbol of the colonial era in Kenya, tried to bring a delegation of white highlanders to Rhodesia to convince Rhodesians that rule by Africans is not so hideous as they might think. The Smith government denied them visas, but it could not shut them up. In a statement published by the Rhodesian press, Delamere said: "Some of us have known in the past what it is to stand up for our rights as settlers. Most of us had perfectly sincere reservations about the speed with which independence was granted to Kenya. Today, however, we must admit that a great many of our fears have so far proved totally unfounded."

Such words are lost on the Rhodesians, who can see nothing north of the Zambezi but Communism, horror and corruption. They prefer to turn their eyes southward to the Limpopo, Kipling's great grey-green, greasy river where the Elephant Child got his nose stretched out by the crocodile. Across the Limpopo lies the shining example of apartheid in South Africa.

Champagne for Whites. In the Afrikaner nation of Hendrik Verwoerd, there is no nonsense about who is baas. Apartheid (pronounced apart-ite) means just what it says—apartness—and the regime has gone to amazing lengths to keep the blacks apart. They must educate their children primarily in the Bantu language. They may live in urban areas only on government permission, and even then they are confined to the sprawling African townships that surround every city. They have no political rights and must carry passes wherever they go. They may be hauled off to jail without pretext or shipped off to one of the eight "Bantustan republics," in which Verwoerd has decided that most blacks should live. Over the past 17 years, the regime has handed down 55 major laws to restrict the African in everything he does.

Though aimed at blacks, the authoritarian state's decrees slowly move in on whites as well. Enemies of the regime have been confined to their homes, or even jailed without trial, but the restrictions are more often maddening than menacing. Fairly typical is the plight of Diamond Heiress Mary Oppenheimer, whose wedding this week was to be followed by a formal champagne reception for both black and white guests. Clearly illegal, stormed the government: it would violate the laws against serving alcohol to nonwhites at a "racially mixed gathering."

Apartheid has turned South Africa into a villain in the eyes of the world, but the effect is hardly noticeable. Not even the black African nations pay much attention to the U.N.'s call for an embargo on South African products. Zambia, for example, still buys nearly a third of its consumer goods from South Africa, and radical Mali's government-owned airline serves its passengers Outspan oranges from South African groves. South Africa is by far the greatest industrial power of the continent. At the moment, it is going through a mild recession after four furious years of boom, but under Johannesburg's growing Manhattan-like skyline the city races along at a Manhattan pace.

Rhodesia has not yet matched the brutality or scope of apartheid, but the inclination of most of its settlers is obviously in that direction. They point out that the country would never be what it is without the energy, hard work and ingenuity of 75 years of white domination. And they have no intention of giving it away. "There will be no black rule in my lifetime," promises Prime Minister Ian Smith.

or the Rhodesian, there is much at stake. Few communities in the world can match the sun-drenched affluence that Rhodesia's hardy settlers have achieved for themselves. Lions still command the distant escarpments, and elephants, baboons and rhinos forage in the valleys of rivers bulging with hippos. But on rolling high veld, brushed with elephant grass and flowering jacaranda trees, the whites have carved out a tidy empire of modern tobacco farms and cattle ranches that has brought modest prosperity to the land. Taxes are low and so are prices; and, for whites, wages are high enough to permit all but the most menial workers their own cars, homes and servants. Salisbury, with a white population of 88,000 spread out over 30 square miles, claims more swimming pools than any U.S. city of its size.

Preference for Land. Despite their good life, Rhodesia's whites still consider themselves frontiersmen in the mold of Cecil Rhodes, the free-swinging colossus who led Britain's last grasps of empire. Announcing that "I prefer land to niggers," he marched into the territory, developed it with his own money, policed it with his own troops and, on the basis of a royal charter granted his British South Africa Co., gave it a government traditionally free of direct London rule.

Most blacks now prefer to call their nation Zimbabwe, after the thousand-year-old ruins of a civilization of master artisans who apparently traded with places as far away as China. To Rhodes, however, it was Zambesia, realm of King Lobengula of the Matabeles, and coveted by the colossus as a link in his dream of an "allred route" of British colonies from Cape Town to Cairo. Rhodes's interest was not exclusively imperial: Explorer David Livingstone had returned from the area some 30 years before with tales of gold nuggets "as big as grains of wheat."

Lobengula was a curious combination of statesman and savage. To demonstrate his ability to keep up to date, he had built a Victorian brick house among the wattle huts of his royal compound at Bulawayo. The brick pile was only ceremonial; he lived in a covered wagon given him by a passing trader and used its driver's seat as his throne. He loved to show bug-eyed visitors the royal treasury: two rusty biscuit tins filled with diamonds. A crafty giant of a man who stood 6 ft. 6 in. and weighed 300 Ibs., the Matabele king was a skillful diplomat with a well-trained army constantly patrolling for trespassers. He had successfully parried the white man's advances for nearly 20 years.

The Pioneer Column. Rhodes got to him in 1888. In return for a promise to keep all other white marauders out of Zambesia, the King affixed his official elephant seal to a document awarding Rhodes's British South Africa Co. the right to dig for gold. Rhodes rushed off to London, passed off the agreement as authority to take possession of the land, and wangled a charter to administer it in the name of the Crown.

For the first expedition, Rhodes hired an army of 500 whites for the British South Africa Co.'s uniformed "police," 200 trusty blacks for servants. The heart of the column, however, was 200 hardy settlers, hand-picked to form a balanced community of professional skills and promised 15 gold claims and 3,000 acres of farmland apiece. By 1890, all was ready. Crossing the Limpopo, the pioneer column marched 400 miles northward, formally took possession of King Lobengula's vassal state of Mashonaland, and began staking out their plots. The old King was dismayed. "I thought you came to dig gold," he wrote the British South Africa Co.'s board of directors, "but it seems you have come to rob me of my people and my country as well."

It did not take long. When Lobengula's armies finally rose in 1893, company police cut them down with machine guns, burned his capital to the ground, and made off with half a million cattle. Lobengula, forced to flee for his life, died in flight. The company took over his throne.

Settlers' Choice. Under hardheaded commercial management, Rhodesia quickly flourished. Cheap labor was provided by a hut tax, which forced the penniless natives to go to work for the settlers to pay it. But the settlers worked beside them in the fields and gradually adopted a paternal feeling toward them. New settlers poured in, built themselves Victorian towns and sturdy houses, and planted mealies (corn) and tobacco on the veld. When more land was needed, the natives were moved off, until in 1928 the officials decided something had to be done to protect them. The result was the Land Apportionment Act, which set aside roughly half of the countryside as "native reserves"—but also prohibited the blacks from owning or even leasing land in white areas.

The company's charter had expired in 1914, and rather than go to the expense of setting up a full colonial regime, London offered the settlers their choice between joining South Africa or forming their own "responsible government." For a hardy people accustomed to freedom, the choice was obvious. In 1923, Rhodesia became Britain's first self-governing colony.

All went well until after World War II, when the blacks of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland—also founded by Rhodes—began to demand their freedom. The white populations of the two colonies, too badly outnumbered to maintain control, began calling for help. In British eyes, the only solution was to weld them into a federation with Southern Rhodesia, whose large white police force and greater degree of self-government might quell the cries for kwacha, or independence. It was a scheme worthy of Rhodes, but not even federation could stem the tide. It lasted exactly ten years.

First Voice. In the meantime, strange things had been happening in Salisbury. Into office as territorial Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia came Reginald Stephen Garfield Todd, a strapping, handsome ex-missionary. To the shock of his own United Party, he began to speak softly to the Africans. He managed to ram through a bill giving Southern Rhodesian blacks their first tiny voice in the territory's government—a separate ballot under which they could elect five of the 35 members of parliament. It was not much, but to the settlers it seemed a step toward their worst fear: that their servants would some day rule.

A wave of public reaction forced the Party to scuttle Todd, and his place was taken by Sir Edgar Whitehead, a conservative farmer from Umtali. To restore his party's shattered image, Whitehead took up the settlers' ever-present demands for full independence from Britain. Britain's prerequisite was a constitutional conference to which all political groups—black and white—would be invited. The conference was held in 1961, and out of it emerged a new constitution that gave the blacks even greater strength in the legislature—15 seats out of 65—and set out conditions by which they might eventually compete for the 50 white seats as well. The conditions: full voting rights for anyone with a high school diploma or a salary of $739 a year.

upremacy or Death. That was not what the settlers had wanted at all, and the constitution turned out to be a death blow to the government. Under a barrage of charges that it was soft on Africans, the United Party was swept out of office in elections the following year. A new party, built on a hard core of cattlemen, tobacco men and right-wing labor leaders, was on the rise; its platform was white supremacy or death, and its founder was Ian Smith.

Ian Douglas Smith, 46, is Rhodesia's first native-born Prime Minister. His father came to the land from Scotland in 1898, settled down to make his fortune as a gold miner, cattle farmer and butcher in the town of Selukwe, 180 miles southwest of Salisbury. "My father rubbed shoulders with Cecil Rhodes," Smith says proudly. "He was one of the fairest men I have ever met, and that is the way he brought me up. He always told me that we're entitled to our half of the country and the blacks are entitled to theirs."

At Selukwe high school, young Ian paid little attention to his studies, but was a champion sprinter and captain of his cricket, tennis and rugby teams. (Noted his school magazine: "Good on attack, but does not always time his passes well.") An R.A.F. fighter pilot during the war, he was shot down on a strafing mission over North Africa, escaped with a broken leg and a badly mutilated face. After plastic surgery in Cairo, he emerged with a drooping right eyelid, an immobile expression, and a brand-new face that the surgeon might almost have copied from pictures of Gary Cooper.

At war's end Smith went to South Africa to take a business course at Rhodes University, then returned home to Selukwe, where he fell in love with an attractive young schoolteacher named Janet Watt. They were married in 1948, and Smith decided that he would enter politics. "I thought he was crackers," recalls his wife, "but no one can influence my husband once he has made up his mind."

The Rhodesia Smith inherited was not conciliatory either. When the United Party decided to accept the 1961 constitution, Smith resigned in a rage—and immediately received a telegram of congratulations from archconservative Tobacco Tycoon Douglas Collard Lilford. "Ian Smith, and Ian Smith alone, was the one to get up and say no," recalls "Boss" Lilford. "He was the only blessed one to resign. This man has steel in him." Smith drove out to Lilford's estate near Salisbury, talked the tobacco man into helping him found the Rhodesian Front to preserve "Rhodesia for the Rhodesians."

With Lilford paying most of the bills and Smith in charge of organization, the Rhodesian Front sprouted like mealies on the veld at Gatooma. All the rightist fringe groups, including the Dominion Party of Contractor William John Harper (now Internal Affairs Minister), got into the act, as did such present powers as South Africa-born Lawyer Desmond Lardner-Burke (Justice Minister) and Cattle Farmer James Angus Graham, the seventh Duke of Montrose (Agriculture Minister).

For all its potent figures, the Front was hardly a respectable organization—until it won the 1962 election. "They used to look at us at the Salisbury Club as if we'd come out of bad cheese," says Lilford. "They called us everything—cowboys, Nazis, the lot. They don't any longer."

In the interests of prestige, Smith chose a respected tobacco farmer named Winston Field, the best-known of all his candidates, as the Rhodesian Front's first Prime Minister. But Field was not radical enough to suit the party hierarchy. He approved of the Front's demands for independence, but opposed U.D.I. Finally, Smith himself moved into the Dutch-gabled house at 8 Chancellor Avenue, which is the official residence of the Prime Minister.

"My Cook & I." That was 18 months ago, and Smith has done little but prepare for U.D.I, ever since. He seldom entertains, usually eats a sparse lunch at home with his wife, and spends as much time as possible inside guarded gates of No. 8's jacaranda-lined grounds. No major legislation has emerged from his tour as Prime Minister, but to promote independence he has flown to London twice, held a national referendum, an indaba (meeting) of African chiefs (all government-paid) and a full-scale parliamentary election (in which the Front won all 50 white seats but did not even contest the 15 black ones).

Smith makes every effort to dress up Rhodesia's brand of white supremacy in respectable terms. He claims he is governing in the interests of the Africans, who could obviously not govern themselves. He points proudly to the fact that their living standard is higher in Rhodesia than in any of the black nations to the north. He boasts that 85% of all school-age children are actually in school and that there are modern hospitals for the blacks in Bulawayo and Salisbury. Blacks and whites get along just fine, he says; Rhodesia is a sort of "racial partnership." And what does that mean? "When my cook and I put on a dinner and it's a failure, both of us are at fault," explains Boss Lilford's wife Doris. "When my cook and I put on a dinner and it's a success, both of us deserve the credit. That is partnership."

And the Africans do all the cooking. The overwhelming majority of blacks are allowed to go only as far as grammar school—"a waiter's education," as one African puts it. The nation has only three African lawyers, a dozen African doctors and not a single African in a key civil-service post. The few blacks allowed to sit in the legislature are powerless and afraid, for police-state laws allow the regime to confine any suspected troublemaker indefinitely and without explanation. The African congressmen, moreover, were all nominated by essentially white parties: the two major African political organizations have long ago been banned. One is the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), whose burly leader, former Methodist Minister Joshua Nkomo, 48, has been held since April of last year at the steaming Gonakudzingwa "restriction center" near the Mozambique border. At another restriction camp at Wha Wha is the Rev. Ndabaningi ("A Lot of Trouble") Sithole, 45, 'a U.S.-educated Congregationalist minister who broke away from Nkomo in 1963 to form the rival Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).

By law, white workers must be given preference over black; the average black income is $200 a year, the average white income $2,000. A white telephone repairman is accompanied on his calls by his black assistant, who carries his six-pound tool kit, hands the baas his screwdrivers with operating-room efficiency, earns bare subsistence wages, and, at day's end, rides seven miles by bicycle or overcrowded bus to Highfield, one of the outlying African townships into which Salisbury's 300,000 blacks are crowded.

The townships are neat and well planned, and although few of their houses are equipped with electricity or running water, they compare favorably with the festering shantytowns of Latin America, Asia and other African countries. That point is lost on the Rhodesian black, who knows only that they are a far cry from the well-kept white suburbs through which he must ride. But he accepts his second-class citizenship impassively, a lack of education, ingrained docility and the state's efficient police leave him no choice.

But his life is getting worse. The government has recently tightened enforcement of the old Land Apportionment Act whereby blacks can no longer own or lease either stores or offices in downtown Salisbury. It is also trying to force private interracial schools to drop their African students. In the countryside, the government refuses to accept Africans' bids to buy unclaimed land supposedly open to them, and has set up controls to discourage Africans still living in tribal areas from moving to the cities. The motive is all too obvious: "If there is black rule in our lifetime," says Smith, "it will be our fault for allowing them to progress too rapidly."

It was Harold Wilson's task last week to determine just how much play there was in this rigid position. Not only had he to deal with Smith's "not in my lifetime" intransigence but also with the equally rigid demands of Rhodesia's black nationalist leaders for immediate "one-man-one-vote" equality. His task was made no easier by the ill-timed comment of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who asked the British government to use force to prevent U.D.I. Griped one Whitehaller, "This is a fine time to sing 'Onward Christian soldiers, shoot your kith and kin.' "

Wilson's strategy in Salisbury was to reach a "multilateralization" of discussion. "He wants to get so many people involved in the discussions, arguing about various approaches, that there will be a great number of confusing second thoughts," explained an aide. "He wants to move the negotiations away from the monolithic 'yes' and 'no' point where they have been."

The pace was wild and wearying: in his first 48 hours in Salisbury, Wilson met with 71 persons, ranging from members of Smith's "cowboy cabinet" through African chieftains in blue and purple robes to the leaders of ZANU and ZAPU. Among the deep carpets and mustachioed portraiture of Salisbury's Government House, the rambling, pillared seat of Britain's governor, Wilson resembled an Indian raja holding court. When Law and Order Minister Lardner Burke insisted that Wilson see ZAPU's "detained" Leader Joshua

Nkomo at the airport rather than Government House—a move aimed at underscoring the "illegality" of Nkomo's party—Wilson snapped that he would see Nkomo and everyone else only at Government House.

Oil & Airlift. From the outset, Wilson found that Smith could not be budged from his bedrock position: Rhodesian independence, based on the 1961 constitution and sanctified by a "sacred treaty." At their first meeting, Wilson handed Smith a letter from the

Queen, expressing hopes for "a solution to the current difficulties"; Smith stuffed it in his pocket to read later. He thus made it clear there was no room in the treaty for the principle of majority rule in the foreseeable future.

With that, Wilson turned to another tack: subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints of the dangers of U.D.I. If Rhodesians felt they could break with Britain and escape hardships, they were wrong. Wilson pointed out that 48 countries had already subscribed to sanctions against Rhodesia in the event of U.D.I., and that it would be a simple matter to cut off the nation's oil by embargo. Even though Portugal would probably keep some oil flowing into Rhodesia through Angola or Mozambique, it would be a scant and stopgap measure at best.

As to Rhodesia's capability of making life tough for landlocked, black-ruled Zambia to the north, which relies on Rhodesian rails to carry its copper to market, Wilson raised the prospects of a joint U.S.-British Berlin-style airlift. That was faintly ludicrous, since expensive, airborne copper could hardly compete for long, but it was meant to demonstrate that Britain was not about to be bullied by threats of Rhodesian countermoves.

Safety in Stalemate. As the stalemate wore on, the voices of Rhodesia's blacks poured in with rising volume. "Listen," said one white Rhodesian, "the savages are singing." They were indeed. Under black umbrellas and dazzling docks (headdresses), the African masses chanted "We want our country," and sang "Zimbabwe shall be free." But the sheer inertia of the positions—the safety, however momentary, that is inherent in stalemate—slowly took effect.

In a sudden series of face-saving shifts, Smith rejected a Wilson proposal for a royal commission to draw up a new constitution for independence, countered smartly with a plan for a "joint" commission (three Rhodesians and two Britons) to decide only if the principles of the 1961 Constitution, with some adjustments, could be adapted to become the basis of Rhodesian independence. To Wilson, it was as unexpected as it was downright "ingenious." It meant that Wilson and Smith could continue talking without either side backing down on principle.

Still, Wilson has no illusions about ultimate agreement. He left Salisbury with the impression that there was only one chance in a hundred of the joint commission actually coming up with a constitutional formula. But the immediate threat of U.D.I, and all its ugly ramifications had—for the moment—been averted. It remained to be seen if Rhodesia's blacks would be as patient as Wilson was willing to be. As he boarded his R.A.F. Comet in the bright sunlight of Salisbury Airport Saturday morning, Wilson left behind a frozen silence. But frost, in the Rhodesian context, is better than fire.

Ian Smith has sadly been proved right

Taken from the Telegraph 22 Nov.
By Graham Boynton

Ian Smith only once doubted the wisdom of his decision to declare UDI and lead Rhodesia into a 15-year civil war to protect white rule.

That moment of doubt occurred in April 1980, during a meeting with Robert Mugabe, who the previous day had taken office as the first Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

Mugabe had summoned Smith to Government House and Smith was surprised to be greeted with a warm handshake and a broad smile; after all, the country's new Marxist leader had promised his people that, come liberation, he would have Smith publicly hanged in Harare's main square.

At that meeting, Mugabe told Smith he was acutely aware that he had inherited from his old adversaries, the whites, a jewel of a country, and he praised its superb infrastructure, its efficient modern economy, and promised to keep it that way.

Smith, completely disarmed, rushed home in a state of excitement, and, over lunch, told his wife, Janet, that perhaps he had been wrong about a black government being incapable of running his beloved Rhodesia.

As he told me years later: "Here's this chap, and he was speaking like a sophisticated, balanced, sensible man. I thought: if he practises what he preaches, then it will be fine. And for five or six months it was fine…"

The simple, trusting banality of Ian Smith's words may, in fact, offer more clues to the catastrophe that has been Rhodesia/Zimbabwe over the past half-century than any number of political or academic tracts.

The point is Mugabe was not the sophisticated, balanced, sensible man Smith had briefly hoped for. Even as he was shaking Smith's hand, he was plotting the destruction of another group of political enemies, the Matabele, and was soon to send Korean-trained troops into Matabeleland to conduct a campaign of torture and murder that has still to be fully exposed.

It is estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000 civilians were murdered and as many again disfigured and tortured in what the Matabeles call the gukuruhundi, the washing away after the storm.

The sensible chap, in fact, turned out to be the type of African leader that "good old Smithy", as his supporters called him, had campaigned against throughout the UDI years. He became the embodiment of corrupt, violent, amoral African dictatorship - just as Smith had warned his supporters.

Let us not forget the context of Smith's determination to hang on to white rule in the 1960s.

At the time that he claimed to be defending "civilised standards", Rhodesians had already witnessed the flight of Belgian refugees from the Congo; Idi Amin had trashed Uganda, and Mobutu Sese Seko was about to introduce an even more brutal and dysfunctional regime in neighbouring Zaire; immediately to the north of Rhodesia, Kaunda's Zambia was in a mess, riddled with corruption and economically mismanaged, and Malawi was being similarly misruled by the eccentric despot Hastings Banda. So why, Smith argued, would Mugabe be any different? Why, indeed.

Smith was a simple man and it was his rather humourless, one-dimensional Rhodesian-ness that at once made him a hero among his own people and a figure of derision among his enemies. I spent hours interviewing him for a book I was writing in the early 1990s and he never once smiled or told a joke. He was the same dour, Calvinistic character whom I had so strongly opposed as a young white liberal growing up in Rhodesia, and who at the time represented all that was wrong about white minority rule in Africa.

At our meetings, he spoke endlessly about how Rhodesians had been more British than the British, how Churchill - had he been alive - would almost certainly have emigrated from corrupt, liberal England to Rhodesia, and how this small community of decent, fair-minded whites had been betrayed by, well, just about everybody he could think of - the Tories, Labour, the Afrikaners, the OAU, the UN. Not surprisingly, he called his ponderous autobiography The Great Betrayal.

It was easy to mock Ian Smith, but he was right - both about the betrayals and about the quality of most African politicians.

He has particular resonance this week, as heads of the Commonwealth convene in Uganda, a country with an interesting democratic history.

However ponderous, however humourless and unsophisticated he was, Smith had run a successful emerging African country and, although the whites were the main beneficiaries, there was increasing prosperity among the black population.

Above all there was a sound, intelligently managed economy, free from the post-colonial blight of corruption.

Today, Zimbabwe is a failed state with a non-functioning economy, a once-flourishing agricultural sector now moribund, and a population on the brink of starvation. According to a UN Development Programme index, life expectancy there today is one of the lowest in the world. So much for liberation.

Although the first 20 years of Mugabe's rule saw a slow, somewhat even-paced decline, the calamitous collapse has been achieved in little more than half a decade, an extraordinary feat of self-destruction when one considers that it took more than a century for Ian Smith's white antecedents to carve a modern, functioning, European-style society out of raw African bushveld.

But that has been the story of post-colonial Africa and, although this week's obituaries will largely dismiss Smith as a colonial caricature, a novelty politician from another age, if you were to go to Harare today and ask ordinary black Zimbabweans who they would rather have as their leader - Smith or Mugabe - the answer would be almost unanimous. And it would not be Mugabe.

It is perfectly ironic that Mugabe's deputy information minister, Bright Matonga, when told of Smith's death this week, described him as a man "who brought untold suffering to millions of Zimbabweans". Those words surely apply more to his own leader than to Ian Smith.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

End of an Era

Ian Smith, ex-PM of Rhodesia, dies at 88

Condolences and comments are pouring in from Rhodesians all over the world at the Rhodesians Worldwide forum, The Bush Telegraph.

To see and add your own, please go to

and also here

(Obituary taken from the Telegraph)

Ian Smith, who died yesterday aged 88, was the Prime Minister of Rhodesia and an ardent advocate of white rule; in 1965 he unilaterally declared independence from Britain, and over the next 15 turbulent years fought an increasingly bitter war against African nationalist guerrillas, a war that cost between 30,000 and 40,000, mainly black, lives - but it was a struggle he eventually lost, paving the way for the country's independence as Zimbabwe.

To his supporters - white Rhodesians and many in Britain - he was a political visionary, the simple farmer who had stepped forward reluctantly to defend his country against Communism. To the Left he was as abhorrent as the leaders of apartheid South Africa.

The context of Smith's declaration of UDI was the deep distrust among Rhodesia's 200,000-strong white minority of Britain's motives in Africa following Harold Macmillan's 1960 "Winds of Change" speech which presaged Britain's withdrawal from the continent.

To Smith and his supporters it seemed the West was only too willing to overlook military dictatorship, violence and corruption in black Africa while condemning Rhodesian society which, whatever its shortcomings, offered relative security for its citizens.

The West, Smith argued, no longer had the will to stand up to Communism; Rhodesia was the front line, and the whites were not engaged merely in a battle for their existence but for civilised values.

To begin with, despite UN-imposed economic sanctions, Rhodesia's economy actually strengthened under UDI, and Ian Smith appeared to relish his position as an international pariah. Many international companies secretly broke the sanctions and Rhodesian businesses and farmers diversified to fill the gaps.

Smith managed to convince white Rhodesians that they could continue to defy world opinion indefinitely: "I don't believe in black majority rule over Rhodesia," he proclaimed, "not in a thousand years." The tide of white emigration from Rhodesia was reversed as thousands of whites, mainly from Britain and South Africa, came to enjoy the advantages of white supremacy.

Smith, the first native-born Rhodesian to lead his country, seemed a simple man, blunt, unemotional and lacking a sense of humour. He was awkward socially, disliked publicity, and his taste in clothes was drab. But his craggy, rough-hewn image concealed an astute tactical mind and a talent for political infighting which his opponents tended to underestimate.

Sir Roy Welensky once remarked that "dealing with Smith is like trying to nail jelly to a wall. Make no mistake: Smith is a ruddy ruthless man."

British negotiators found that Smith constantly changed the goal posts of negotiation. He denied being a racist, yet almost in the same breath would insist that separate development and racial discrimination were essential ingredients of Rhodesian society.

But in the end it was not diplomacy which wore Smith down, but armed black opposition and, decisively, South Africa's decision to withdraw support. UDI galvanised black nationalist feeling, and, by 1972, guerrilla armies led by Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo were leading regular attacks on white border farms.

From then on they conducted their activities from bases in Mozambique, and Smith countered with vigorous retaliatory measures by the Rhodesian armed forces. By 1977 the war was costing Rhodesia around £500,000 a day, and all able-bodied men between 18 and 60 were spending up to a third of the year on active service.

Smith took part in the talks at Lancaster House in London which were to set a new path for what would become Zimbabwe. The final result of UDI was that the white Rhodesians were landed with a deal that removed all traces of their political influence and, after the country's first democratic elections held in 1980, brought about the one thing Smith had promised them they would never have - a black Marxist government run by the man they most abhorred, Mugabe.

Ian Douglas Smith was born on April 8 1919 at Selukwe, Southern Rhodesia (now Shurugwi, Zimbabwe), the son of a Scottish-born butcher and cattle dealer who had emigrated in 1898.

Ian attended local schools at Selukwe and nearby Gwelo, then read Commerce at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. There he met and married Janet Watt, the widow of a South African rugby player, whose views on race were if anything more hard-line than her husband's.

Smith interrupted his studies in 1939 to join the RAF, joining 237 (Rhodesia) Squadron. During the North Africa campaign he was stationed at Idcu, an airfield 20 miles from Alexandria where, in 1943, his Hurricane crashed on take-off, smashing his head against the instrument panel. Smith's face had to be surgically rebuilt, an operation which left him with a somewhat menacing stare.

In 1944, after his Spitfire was shot down over the Ligurian Alps, he spent five months with the Italian partisans before escaping over the Alps into France, where the Allies had just landed. He finished the war in Germany with 130 Squadron.

His war experiences left an indelible impression on Smith, and the fact that Rhodesia had done more than any other colony to help the mother country would become central to his sense of betrayal by post-war British governments.

After completing his studies Smith was elected to the Southern Rhodesian Assembly in 1948. He joined the Right-wing opposition Liberal Party and stood as a candidate for Selukwe. Initially he opposed the plan for federation between Southern Rhodesia and the territories of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi). But later he came to realise the potential economic advantages for Rhodesia, and joined the governing Federal Party when the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was formed in 1953.

By 1958 Smith had become chief government whip under the premiership of Sir Roy Welensky; but when, in 1961, the Federalists supported a new constitution allowing limited representation for black Africans in Parliament, Smith was instrumental in founding the Rhodesian Front (RF), committed to negotiating independence from Britain with a government based upon the white minority.

In December 1962, shortly before the break-up of the Federation, the ruling United Federal Party was defeated by the RF, and Winston Field became prime minister with Smith as deputy prime minister and Treasury minister. At the end of 1963 the federation was dissolved, and Southern Rhodesia reverted to its former status as colony.

After succeeding Field as prime minister in April 1964, Smith moved quickly to show he meant business. His first official act was to authorise the arrest and banishment of four black African nationalist leaders. The disorder that followed was suppressed vigorously by the police. To keep moderate white opinion on side Smith was careful to emphasise that he wanted a settlement with the British.

To his supporters on the Right, however, he asserted he would never compromise on the fundamental issue of white supremacy. The ambiguity of this position was exposed when, in September 1964, he set off for London for talks with the Conservative prime minister Alec Douglas-Home.

During the talks Home outlined the British terms for independence which became known as the five principles. These included unimpeded progress to majority rule, immediate improvement in the political status of the black population and progress towards ending discrimination. Smith responded by demanding independence under the 1961 constitution (which he had opposed at the time) which he claimed Britain had promised.

Home denied that Britain had made any such promise said that the final step to independence would depend on the consent of all Rhodesians.

Smith seized on this last point when he returned home: "If I can prove to the British government I have the support of the majority, they will grant me independence on this constitution and on this franchise," he proclaimed. None of this was true, nor was the impression he conveyed that Home and he agreed on how African opinion might be tested.

In October some 600 chiefs and headmen were summoned to give their views and dutifully voted in favour of independence based on the 1961 constitution, a view endorsed by the country's whites in a November referendum. When the British government predictably refused to accept the result as valid, Smith accused the British of reneging on their undertakings. Most whites believed him and blamed Britain for a shameful act of treachery.

In the Rhodesian General Election of May 1965, all 50 seats in the assembly went to Smith's RF.

The new British prime minister, Harold Wilson, underestimated the gathering momentum towards UDI, while making it more likely by insisting that force would never be used should Rhodesia decide to go it alone. After months of fruitless talks, in November 1965 Smith declared UDI. A state of emergency gave the government sweeping powers, including censorship.

Expecting a quick victory, Wilson imposed piecemeal sanctions on Rhodesia, and when those failed resorted to more extensive measures which were also applied by the UN Security Council in 1968. This gradual approach was almost entirely counterproductive. Not only did it enable the Rhodesians to solve their own difficulties at an easier pace, it also served to unite white Rhodesians round Smith.

From the beginning sanctions were undermined by international companies keen to maintain trading links, and aided and abetted by the white regimes of South Africa and Portuguese-controlled Mozambique, and also America.

But not one foreign government was prepared to recognise the Rhodesian regime; and without access to the world's money markets, Smith could not get the capital funds needed to sustain development. On the British side, the failure of sanctions obliged Wilson to return to negotiation.

In December 1966 Smith and Wilson met on board the British cruiser Tiger off Gibraltar, and worked out a set of constitutional principles in line with the original British terms for a settlement. To begin with, Smith made several concessions. In exchange, Wilson agreed that majority rule should be postponed beyond the end of the century.

But the talks broke down over the issue of how Rhodesia could return to legality. Wilson's demand that interim powers be handed over to the loyalist Governor of Rhodesia, Sir Humphrey Gibbs, proved unacceptable to Smith, and the Tiger proposals were rejected.

In October 1968, Smith again met Wilson, this time aboard the assault ship Fearless. Again the negotiations ended in failure, and Smith told his people: "It was clear to us throughout the talks that the British were obsessed with the question of African majority rule. There will be no majority rule in my lifetime - or in my children's."

Smith now felt the way was open to install a new constitution that would "entrench government in the hands of civilised Rhodesians for all time". The draft constitution enshrined the concept of "parity" under which the black population would achieve equal representation with the whites in the distant future.

Blacks were allocated 16 seats to the whites' 50, a proportion which would remain fixed until the black population paid at least 24 per cent of income tax. As they then contributed just half of one per cent, and the average increase in payment was 0.05 per cent per year, it would have taken 460 years before any increase in representation was obtained and 980 years for parity to be reached.

In June 1969 the constitution was endorsed in a referendum by 78 per cent of the (white) electorate, and on March 1 1970 Rhodesia became a republic. A month later there was a general election; the RF swept the board, winning all 50 white seats.

After Harold Wilson's departure from office in 1970, Alec Douglas-Home, now Foreign Secretary, returned to the quest for a settlement. Sympathetic to the whites and under pressure to get rid of an embarrassment, Home was prepared to go much further in appeasing white opinion than in the past.

The formula he proposed endorsed the principle of one-man-one-vote, but on a majority of Rhodesians with certain property and educational qualifications; while this did not exclude the possibility of African rule, it postponed it for long enough for the idea to be acceptable to Smith. On November 24 1971 Smith and Home announced their agreement on the proposed settlement. All that remained was to test its acceptability.

Nationalists decided to fight the agreement, and established a new African National Council (ANC) under the figurehead leadership of the moderate Methodist Bishop Abel Muzorewa. The success of their campaign surpassed their wildest dreams.

When, in early 1972, seven teams of commissioners under Lord Pearce arrived to find the "true voice of Rhodesia", the response came as a rude shock. Riots broke out in Gwelo, Salisbury and Umtali, and elsewhere the commissioners were greeted by rowdy and angry crowds. On his return to Britain, Lord Pearce's verdict was unequivocal: "In our opinion the people of Rhodesia as a whole do not regard the proposals as acceptable as the basis for independence."

On December 21 1972 guerrilla forces operating from neighbouring Mozambique attacked an isolated white homestead in Centenary district, ushering in a period of escalating guerrilla activity, with frequent murders and terrorist attacks.

Smith responded initially by lengthening the period of compulsory military service, and by sanctioning reprisals against any Africans suspected of helping the guerrillas, brushing aside warnings that this would drive villagers into the hands of the extremists.

In 1975 Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe joined together as the Patriotic Front and prosecuted a punishing guerrilla war.

By mid-1976 the security situation had become increasingly desperate as the war spread into the country from the border area. In September the American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger presented Smith with a draft settlement providing for "black majority rule within two years".

Playing for time, Smith agreed to the deal, although he insisted that the word "black" should be deleted from the term "majority rule", thus leaving the meaning ambiguous, and ensuring that whites should be able to retain control of the crucial defence, law and order and finance portfolios.

Kissinger, meanwhile, found that the deal was totally unacceptable to black nationalist leaders and the Front-line African presidents, but suppressed this information. Smith duly went on Rhodesian television to announce the agreement. The white population reacted with stunned disbelief.

Although many assumed it must be yet another of Smith's ruses, the fact that he had been prepared to contemplate majority rule within two years had an enormous psychological impact. In 1976 Rhodesia saw a net loss of more than 7,000 whites, the largest exodus in more than 13 years.

Agreement with the nationalists, however, could not be reached, and by mid-1977 the war had spread across the whole country. By now Smith believed that his only hope of holding on to power lay in coming to an internal settlement with some of the more moderate black leaders.

In November 1977 he announced he was prepared to accept the principle of one-man-one-vote as a basis for discussions, and invited Muzorewa, Ndabaningi Sithole and Chief Chirau (president of the council of chiefs) to meet him for talks.

A series of meetings culminated on March 3 1978 in an agreement which provided for a legislature of 100 members, of which 28 would be white and 72 black. Crucially though, the whites could veto any legislation affecting their privileges and would retain control of the administration, the security forces, the economy and, for the interim period, parliament.

In a referendum among the country's whites held at the end of January 1979, 85 per cent voted in favour of the new constitution; and on April 20, in a general election, Muzorewa's ANC emerged with 51 of the 72 black seats in the new Parliament. Smith's RF took all 28 of the white seats.

Although Smith resigned as prime minister, staying on as minister without portfolio under Muzorewa, there was little doubt where power really lay. Four days after Muzorewa took office, Rhodesian forces raided Mozambique. The raid began at 3 am and Muzorewa was not informed about it until three hours later.

In the meantime it had become abundantly clear that the black moderate leaders would be unable to bring an end to the guerrilla campaign. By mid-1978 the number of PF guerrillas inside Rhodesia had reached 10,000 and there were sporadic raids on the outskirts of Salisbury. Smith's gamble that the elections might persuade other countries to recognise the new government also proved misplaced.

When Margaret Thatcher came to power in May 1979, her natural inclination was to recognise Muzorewa's government and lift sanctions. But black African states warned her of a trade boycott costing billions of pounds, and there was a risk of a clash with the Carter administration in America.

By now the Rhodesian armed forces were seriously short of manpower, and in September Smith was forced to accept Mrs Thatcher's invitation to a peace conference at Lancaster House in London.

The British foreign secretary, Lord Carrington, presented a draft constitution to the parties. Smith denounced it as "madness", but Muzorewa supported the proposals, and on December 11 the Rhodesian Parliament voted to dissolve itself in favour of an interim British administration under Lord Soames, with free elections scheduled for February 1980.

In its only concession to Smith, the Lancaster House agreement guaranteed 20 white seats in the 100-seat Parliament, but only until 1987.

In the elections Mugabe's Zanu-PF swept to victory, winning most of the seats in the new parliament. Nkomo's Zapu held on to its Ndebele strongholds, and formed the opposition. Smith's Rhodesia Front claimed all 20 reserved seats in a reflex vote by the white electorate.

At first it seemed that Smith's dire predictions about the future might prove to be ill-founded. Despite Mugabe's inflammatory rhetoric, whites kept their land and foreign investment was encouraged. Smith continued to excoriate Mugabe as a Marxist dictator, but during the 1980s was seen as an increasingly irrelevant figure.

In 1987 he was expelled from Parliament for 12 months after criticising sanctions imposed on neighbouring South Africa; by the time his suspension was lifted, the whites had lost their seats in parliament.

During the 1990s, as Mugabe's regime became increasingly corrupt and violent, Smith took a grim delight in seeing his predictions come true: "It helps lift my depression that the majority of black people are saying it is time to get rid of this bunch of corrupt gangsters", he said.

Smith continued to nurse a deep sense of grievance about the way he had been "betrayed" by those countries, principally Britain and South Africa, which he felt should have been his friends.

In his memoirs, The Great Betrayal (1997) he put the blame for Rhodesia's collapse on almost everybody except himself: "During UDI we had the greatest national spirit in the world, a fantastic country, great race relations, the happiest black faces in the world… if our friends hadn't betrayed us, we'd have won."

Ian Smith's wife Janet died in 1994. They had two sons and a daughter.

Below is a link to video footage from the BBC reporting his death.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Big Bad JuJu

I have been reading more articles regarding the absurd story of the Zimbabwean rock that pumped diesel out. What beggars belief is that the whole farce took in so many, including some of the mightiest political elite of Mugabe’s politburo.

What is the most alarming is that despite decades of western influence, the power of the Spiritualist is still deeply ingrained in the African mindset.

A lot of them were active during the bush war. As early as 1972 a Rhodesian Special Branch H.Q memorandum too its branches, warned of their growing influence and urged that spirit mediums be given ‘maximum possible attention.’

Many Rhodesian Whites towards the end of the ‘70s also looked elsewhere for ‘divine’ information. A certain clairvoyant, Bill McLeod, became rather popular by cleverly focusing on ideologically-sound forecasts. Two successes included the downing of the viscounts and Margaret Thatcher’s election. By 1980 more and more White Rhodesians wanted to believe him. However he predicted a Muzarewa win, Edward Kennedy as the US President and Castro to fall by the end of 1981.

(Taken from Rhodesians never die.)

We presume though that JuJu wasn’t exactly used in Ian Smith’s cabinet decision making.

Mugabe’s lot actually, desperately WANTED to believe that the 'spirit medium', also known as Nomatter Tagarira, (No Matter!) could solve the entire nation’s economic crisis.

The whole farce went on almost a year with the woman being showered with money, farms, cattle etc. Even her bodyguards, hard core CIO men were frightened shitless of her.

In last weeks copy of The New Zimbabwe, a UK based free newspaper, it contained several large adverts by clairvoyants, phycic healers and spitualists. (Only the newsprint version.)Amongst some of the claims -

Mrs Parker- ‘I can protect you from JaDoo, JuJu, Obeya, Uganga’, which sound absolutely terrifying and thank God (God?) that because I haven’t a clue what these things are, it is highly unlikely I will suffer from them.

Mr Bilal promises – ‘protection against your enemies, court cases’ and he is the ‘master of breaking black magic.’

Sheik Amar claims – ‘god (small g) gifted African spiritualist healer’ He also claims to be hot-shot fighting black magic but goes a step further, ‘I can break the power of witch craft that might be casted on you by your enemies.’ Finally, ‘YOUR PAIN IS MY PAIN.’ Now, what is damn obvious is the spelling mistake in the last word. It should be a G instead of a P.

I thought all Zimbabweans will conclude, the problem is called Mugabe. So if they all chip in and get all these JuJu people to team together; problem solved! Or has Mugabe got maybe even a BIGGER more powerful JuJu man working for him?

Pass me a Harry Potter book someone!

God’s role in all this can be confusing. Presumably he is Number 1 Anti JuJu man and can get rid of bad JuJu. Other religions also have Number 1 Anti JuJu man. If the spells don’t work, they find some sap to send armies into counties led by men under bad JuJu influence. Like Iraq for example. Then they hang the bad man, effectively removing the evil JuJu, and everyone is happy and go off to lead JuJu free lives. That is until someone points out that its all a con and all the invaders are under a bigger and badder JuJu curse and blowing them up is the only way to free them from the JuJu.

But the biggest JuJu in the world turned this person from this

into this!

Now that is what I call very strong JuJu!