So it went in Rhodesia, so it goes in Zimbabwe

If there was a foretaste of what “independence” in Zimbabwe would later become, certainly the citizens would have opted to remain in Rhodesia.

Source: So it went in Rhodesia, so it goes in Zimbabwe. | News24 04 January 2017

Harare, Zimbabwe- Penultimate month to Christmas, the last drop of water to hit these streets was from the violent rainstorm last week. Not even the public toilet taps gush out water like they used to. Even those pipes underground are their former selves.  The people are in a somber mood, a reflection of what surrounds them- uncertainty and suffering without purpose. Cacophonous automobile hooters from every angle, some of the cars are in the wrong lane according to the decaying road sign that is in front of me- a testimony of a country where rules are only enforceable if there are pecuniary benefits for the law enforcement agents.  Azure sky, very clear and there is no sign of any rain coming soon. The much needed rain to quench the thirst of the grounds. The parched grounds have become the daytime lounges for the queuing masses. If only the suffering masses could receive the rain as a present from nature- in the form of alleviating their suffering but it is not so. You see here like elsewhere nowadays, there is a queue for everything.  The queue with many subscribers these days is the bank queue.

There is talk about His Excellency having used his “powers” to decree a law on “new money”.  There is talk about His Excellency having been booed at a graduation ceremony at one of the universities. There is talk about His Excellency having reinstated his party members who had referred to him as a dictator. There is talk about His Excellency having said that he will retire when he is 99 years of age. The money shortages, the rising corruption, the electricity load shedding, the water rationing, the soaring levels of unemployment, the deplorable state of public hospitals, the political abductions, the decaying infrastructure, the police brutality, the anarchy- all of this is intertwined with His Excellency. Without any pretense, the people are pointing at His Excellency for everything. It took the people years to steely point at His Excellency for everything that is upside down and lopsided in the republic. His Excellency and his retinue are idiosyncratic with everything that has been reduced to nothingness in the republic. But how did His Excellency amass so much power? How did His Excellency become such a powerful bloke in a country replete with talents of all variations? Could it be that the destiny of the whole country is in the hands of His Excellency and nobody else? How did His Excellency become so omnipresent- the separation of powers between the executive, judiciary and the legislature is impossible? Resistance and trying to find answers to the aforementioned questions- a bête noire to His Excellency, he will thwart it!

By any possible standards, the republic has become a dystopia. The republic has seen monumental exodus of the citizens in search of anything different. There is some pride that a citizen exhibits when his land of provenance is mentioned- not so with the citizens of my republic. We have nothing to be proud of, except maybe our high literacy and competencies that we boast about in countries that are not ours. That is what happens when the story of a people is manipulated and defined by one man’s megalomania.

“This land is perfectly habitable; it’s just that our economy is under sanctions from the West!”

The anti-thesis of what the citizens experience. The clear difference between mass opinion and public policy is an eyesore- you can see it in the citizens’ eyes. You can see it on the faces of university graduates cum vendors; graduates who have been made a litany of promises and have now been reduced to permanent job seekers. You can see it through the actions of parking marshals who will threaten and squeeze a dollar out of a motorist for 30 minutes parking! You will read about it from the business sections of the censored papers, the business of the stock exchange has become delisting and liquidation. The gross mismanagement manifests itself in the plates of the citizens. These plates know no nourishing food, they just know food that keep one sustained.

Salisbury, Rhodesia-

Early in the morning, the citizens wake up to see the glass bottle of milk and a newspaper is delivered. The postman delivers letters and parcels. Up the road, there is road maintenance that is taking place. The roads are clean, no clutter or rubbish heaps in sight. On the small black and white screens, the British South Africa Company (BSAC) has announced that a new road construction has been commissioned. The citizens wake up early in the morning to go to work, the citizens work very hard because they know they will be gainfully rewarded. There is no shortcut to earning money; every citizen has to work in order to live a comfortable life. In the schools, the scholars are being taught essential skills so that one day they can earn a living. Everything here is orderly, from child immunizations to refuse collection. There is a calm relief on how everything perfectly functions. A sober analysis of Rhodesia is that it’s a country where order is the fulcrum of the healthy society.

Elias, a very resourceful black entrepreneur and father of 8 has just had his bank loan approved. He is called in the CABS offices in Salisbury to come and sign his loan approval. There is tense talk in the air that the nationalists are at loggerheads with the incumbent administration over representation of natives in the House of Assembly. There is dissatisfaction about the segregation based on race. The black nationalists are also fighting for equal rights and freedom of association. Elias can see elements of the truth in the grievances- there are areas where black people like him are not supposed to be seen in. In all of this Elias still gets rewarded for his hard work and he is going to use his bank loan to construct a small shopping mall in the native area of Chitungwiza. There is many like him, young black entrepreneurs who want to bring the “town to the people”. These men are living in a country that rewards excellence. The violation of human rights talk is becoming a crescendo. Some of the gullible citizens are joining in the echo but how come Elias and his ilk are not feeling a pinch of these human rights violations? They go to bed on full stomachs, like everyone. The manifestation of the unfair laws and segregation is definitely not in the plates of the masses!

Citizens of the neighboring South Africa, Bechuanaland, Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia are flocking in their numbers to Rhodesia. They come to Rhodesia to work. They come to Rhodesia for protection. They come to Rhodesia as compradors. They come to Rhodesia as artists. Rhodesians welcome them without any qualms. After all, everyone who lives here has his or her fair share of the national cake.

Because of the racial woes, the Rhodesian economy is under sanctions. The economy is not allowed to trade freely with the rest of the world until there are changes in the segregation laws. Both agriculture and mining indices have increased, this is the year 1965. The statistic of an increased economic activity is an implicit indication of increased employment. There is an increase in the employment of Africans. No salary comes late. The effects of sanctions imposed on any economy depend on the attitude of the incumbent economic authorities and how they maneuver the whole situation. Rhodesia- the economic miracle with a valuable currency of its own!

Rhodesia was colonial and Zimbabwe is independent. It can only bring pain to compare these two countries – but the citizens of Zimbabwe who are the erstwhile citizens of Rhodesia cannot help but reminisce. The citizens of the independent Zimbabwe have a chimera of going back to Rhodesia. The citizens of Zimbabwe have another definition of “independence” that is intertwined in the Marxist theory of dialectical materialism. The talk of liberation got louder but, did the masses really need the liberation? If there was a foretaste of what “independence” would later become, certainly the citizens would have opted to remain in Rhodesia.

“The hardest lesson of my life came to me late. It is that a nation can win freedom without its people becoming free.” Joshua Nkomo


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    Joe Cool 5 years ago

    The basic difference is in the discipline – both self, and imposed. It’s very un-African, requires willpower, and it’s entirely gone.

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    Khumalo 5 years ago

    Oh please spare us this manipulation of history. That’s ridiculous. What country is without its challenges (Brexit, Donald Trump and so forth)? Does that mean we should return to colonialism? Absolutely not! Changing times come with new sets of challenges, teaching wisdom that will be learned no other way. We cannot return to Rhodesia because of one bad leader. So please stop trying to roll back the gains made to appease conscience over what was done to us. No, it was not better. Yes, we ARE allowed to make our own mistakes and learn from them. And yes, there may have been a few setbacks. But we’d still rather be free than die grateful slaves.

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      Kevin 5 years ago

      What the author does not deal with are the distortions. Racism and segregation laws prevented the full development of the Rhodesian economy. Sanctions were only imposed on the Rhodesian economy in November 1965, and had yet to cause any impact, so the author has willfully distorted the facts. Perhaps a better comparison would have been comparing 1983 or 1997 with 1965, and I think there differences would have been stark. What the real story is is that Ian Smith did not enrich himself and his cabinet and senior party leaders at the expense of the taxpayer, as Robert Mugabe has. Zimbabwe’s decline began when the money for patronage and corruption ran out and Mugabe destroyed the rule of law.

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        Thomas 5 years ago

        What “racism and segregation laws” did Rhodesia have and how did they prevent the “full development of the Rhodesian economy”?

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    Comparisons are a fact of life and always will be – this is what the writer is getting at by observation of two scenarios of where we were and where we are now.
    The sad fact is what was inherited from a certainly not so perfect Rhodesia era, at independence has been squandered, with the same mistakes being made in every department of the country time and time again but the learning curve remains flat. As the saying goes – Doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result!
    I have to disagree with Khumalo, that there ‘may have been a few setbacks’, I would say massive grave fiasco’s that the country and the vast majority of our people are on their hands and knees so that is not freedom in the real sense but imprisonment and slaves to the system in another.
    Freedom in my book is equality, justice, freedom of speech, movement, property rights, access to education, healthcare, democracy in every day life and not just the right to vote when your vote counts for nothing.
    Sadly, we are nowhere near this today but have gone backwards by a mighty long way instead of going forward, even if by small steps.

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    Khumalo 5 years ago

    MPN, God was furious with the Israelites for this same mentality. After they had cried out to Him to be delivered from 400 years in the hands of the cruel Egyptians, He answered them. But upon departure, every time they hit a rough patch, it was the same refrain: “If only we had stayed in Egypt!” All the way to the promised land of what Zimbabwe can become, there will be rough patches. But the answer is NOT to wish we had remained colonized. The answer is to stay the course and shame our enemies. Show them that we can do it better than that hopeless, over glorified, colonial era. It is a false comparison, a false choice, a manipulation of history, a logical fallacy to suggest that if we had if we had known we’d run into problems down the road we would have opted to remain colonized. Let’s be pushing forward so that God can honor our fight and help us. But “He who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is not fit for service in the kingdom of God!”

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      palinandsimple 5 years ago

      Khumalo – Stop this God nonsense – its just an excuse to turn to as a result of ones failures in life. It has no bearing whatsoever on events in this universe. The current state of the country is a result of ignoramus and clueless individuals trying to run it. The author is simply making a point that this current government was handed a perfect country destined with fabulous opportunities and results. Unfortunately, the current government has squandered, raped, pillaged, lied, stolen etc etc to mass up their own wealth at the expense of the citizens. It has been proven over the last 36 years that the country has spiralled into an abyss since independence. How the heck can you say otherwise? Chip on the shoulder springs to mind and always blaming another race or bringing racism into the fray. So proud of you Bantu heritage,? Then head back to the sticks and live like a real one then, do not associate yourself with anything invented by the Europeans. Also just remember who gave you independence – the white Europeans!! The unfortunate thing is that as they are not African, they could not understand what the dire outcome would be of the country – majority of white Africans living here could!! Try not blame anyone else for your inadequacies and accept you failures!! God or instigating racism will not help!!

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    TJINGABABILI 5 years ago


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    Khumalo – Negative – in my day and times, believe me, all I wished for was a free and fair society for all to share one way or another and not conflict. I am a born African and my allegiance is far from colonization as I do not contemplate this as the right course, then and now.
    I am not a religious person by a long way but the God of my understanding helps those that are willing to help themselves in times of peril and tribulation.
    Reward is not God given – it is earned today and tomorrow.

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      Khumalo 5 years ago

      That Mugabe went about the land issue the wrong way does in no way negate the fact that there was a land issue. You shouldn’t live like a pauper in your own country.
      There are also different levels of independence. When you gain political independence, it’s a start. But when all of your fertile land is owned by whites, you are still economically colonized.
      The mistake here was how Mugabe went about it — for selfish reasons and with NO real plan whatsoever to train Zimbabwean commercial farmers to fill the gap so that the transition was seamless and sustainable.
      But the good news is that Mugabe is not Zimbabwe. The sticky issue, though is that the ZANU machinery may be tough to get rid of even after Mugabe, what with VPs and first ladies next in line.
      Zimbabweans are doing the right thing by registering their displeasure in protest. Lesser men and women would have exhibited cowardice. The key is to keep pushing forward. The land issue can still be corrected.
      Regardless of what a hero Mandela may have been, Britain would never have allowed him to become their president. Sovereignty is sacrosanct. So let’s leave “Rhodesia” out of the mix.
      Nobody said freedom at any level was free or even cheap. The cost is high. But the rewards are even higher. That is why the world over, people have been willing to pay the price.
      I will advise that we add prayer to our efforts because God’s intervention can win a battle quicker than our own efforts alone, as important as our efforts are. He alone knows all of the secrets of mens hearts. But He Himself being sovereign, does not interfere unless called upon. Yes, some would rather suffer in their pride than ask for His help. We are well within our rights to do so if we please. It’s called free will.

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    Mukanya 5 years ago

    “The hardest lesson of my life came to me late. It is that a nation can win freedom without its people becoming free.” JOSHUA NKOMO!!

    A very valid statement above……………!

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    Khumalo 5 years ago

    Regardless of what a hero Mandela was, Britain would never have allowed him to be their president. Sovereignty is simply sacrosanct. So lets leave “Rhodesia” out of the mix.
    The fact that Mugabe went about the land issue the wrong way in no way negates the fact that there was a land issue. You shouldn’t live like a pauper in your own country.
    There are different levels of independence. When a nation gains political independence, it’s a start. But when its economy is still firmly in the hands if its colonizers, it is still economically colonized, even if said colonists claim Zimbabwean citizenship. The fact remains that the best of the land is in their hands.
    The mistake Mugabe made was to go about it for selfish reasons with NO real plan to train indigenous commercial farmers so that the transition was both seamless and sustainable.
    The good news is that Mugabe is not Zimbabwe. The sticky issue then being that the ZANU machinery it seems will remain in effect, what with vice presidents and first ladies next in line.
    But we keep pushing forward. Not looking back. Zimbabweans have done the right thing to register their displeasure in protest. Lesser men and women would have caved at the intimidation.
    No one said freedom at any level was free or even cheap. The cost is high, but the rewards are even higher; which is why people the world over have been willing to pay the price.
    I simply advise that we add prayer to the mix. God can fight and win this battle much more effectively and expeditiously than we alone can, in honor of our demonstrated efforts. But Himself being sovereign, does not interfere unless called upon to do so. However, we are well within our rights to suffer in our pride if we so choose. It’s called free will.

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    Ian Smith 5 years ago

    Sadly Zimbabwe has no citizens your are either an indigenous or a colonialist.
    The color of your skin is the only registration.

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    william mills 5 years ago

    Comparing Rhodesia to Zimbabwe is a useless task. Rhodesia was a European country with a large African population who, as misguided as it may seem, destroyed the European country. Now it is properly an African country with all the implications flowing therefrom. For example there has never been a shining city on a hill in Africa and I doubt there ever will be. Look anywhere in sub Sahara Africa (ssa) and you will see decline and decay from the way it was in colonial times. Independence has not treated Africa well. The concepts of elections, democracy, rule of law, peaceful transfer of power, ethics, even morality are all foreign concepts to the Africans. Africa must and will do what they regard as suitable for themselves. Rhodesia is gone forever and Zimbabwe will never be as Rhodesia. In SSA C’est la vie.

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    Khumalo 5 years ago

    Yes, Rhodesia is gone for good. Thank God for that! You came and met us here. No one invited you here. So spare us your arrogant patronage. Because you’ve lost the game, you’re bitter. So you see only what you choose to see. But development gains are being made across the continent despite the challenges and manipulations by your lot. Finally, if you feel the way you do about Africa, then go back to where you came from. Our kingdom suffered violence, and the violent took it by force.

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    The fact of the matter is not where you are from or if you do not like it go back where you came from!
    That could be said of Mzilikazi/ Lobengula and the Matabele’s. They are descendants from far away Zululand so if they do not like what is happening in their part of the country – go back there – I doubt it – why – they are 8/9 generations later and their roots are in Zimbabwe not Natal.
    I am a 6th generation African and maybe more – England/Holland or the like mean nothing to me. My heritage is African soil, good, bad or indifferent, so why cast me out and tell me to go back to somewhere that I know nothing of because I might no like what is going on!
    One cannot change history, because, without it, we would not be where we are!

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    Khumalo 5 years ago

    Because you whites have not changed. Look at this article and look at your comments. You don’t even consider us humans. You speak of us as an inconvenient presence on our own continent. The fact of the matter is that this is NOT your continent. We Bantus have been free to move about our continent as we please. You don’t get to judge or manipulate that. You cannot sit here on our continent, benefit from the best of it by way of superior weaponry, subjugate us, and when we win our political independence, gloat over our challenges, hope we fail and still expect to be considered African. Africanness is the spirit of ubuuntu, which you whites clearly could not begin to understand. It is not in your nature to coexist, but to dominate. Neither you Rhodesians nor those in South Africa will EVER be considered African.

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      Thomas 5 years ago

      What about the parts of the continent that were not settled by Africans at all, do those belong to Africans or whites that settled them first? Like the Seychelles and parts of South Africa for example. The Seychelles were entirely uninhabited when whites got there, same as the southern tip of South Africa (a region as large as Sweden). I can give more examples. Does the Northern half of Africa on which caucasian civilizations used to flourish belong to whites also? Or the Arabs who invaded and took over? Let’s also not forget Africas size and that huge areas were entirely unpopulated when whites got there, and tribal chiefs sold land to whites because they didn’t think they would need it. The huge African population explosion has come due to western medicine and agriculture and other things. The Bantu expansion didn’t happen long before whites started to colonize either. So the Bantu peoples were also pretty “new” in many areas of Africa, should we then say that wherever Bantu peoples live where there was originally another people, be they pygmee, xhosa, san or whatever, that the Bantu in these areas have to leave, and return the land to it’s original inhabitants?

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    Only bitter people gloat over others failings and do not realize that they have failings of their own.
    There is nothing wrong if an honest man makes an honest mistake.
    One cannot ‘tar all with the same paint brush’ – to do that is being prejudice. One cannot judge a book by its cover.
    I have traveled wide and far and seen a diversity of communities that co-exist and respect each others cultures and live in harmony. Yes, some do not like to fit in and move on elsewhere – their choice. What I have also seen is the most humble generosity of those with less than me and welcome.
    Perhaps the same could be said about the continents of North America and Australia.
    It could be said the people are not native or to the spirit of the land of the original indigenous folk, therefore, they are not American or the like.
    Of course they are, it is the only home they know of.
    By the way I am not a Rhodesian, I just happened to be born in the Kingdom of Monomotapa!

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    Khumalo 5 years ago

    It is the exact same story in North America AND in Australia. The original inhabitants of the land have been relegated to the status of serfs on their own land. Your kind takes advantage of that very “generosity” and “welcome” to move in and colonize. No matter how much”development” you build on top of it, the end does not justify the means. It is evil. That is exactly why stability has been so elusive in Africa and is just now taking root. Because of the way your kind chopped up the continent, manipulated relationships between tribes (Hutus, Tutsis, etc.) , removed existing, organic systems of governance, committed genocides, eliminating entire peoples. And now you want to label yourself African? A Boer by ANY other name is still a Boer.

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    Ian Smith 5 years ago

    What was the situation on planet earth 3000 BC???
    No countries no borders just humans nomads going from place to place.
    The weak were slaughtered, conquered etc. same applies today.

    Case in point 92 year old Mugabe has conquered until a greater force boots him out

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    Khumalo 5 years ago

    Lol! One too many beers, Ian Smith? 3000BC? Really? Wow. #leftfield?

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    Khumalo 5 years ago

    Way to go, dude. When you can’t defend it anymore, JUSTIFY IT! Nice!?

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    Palin has said it simple so have I and others.
    The fact is we have a failed state on the bones of its backside with not a pot to piss in when 36 years ago the coffers were full and all had food on the table, shelter and clothes on their back in by no means a far from perfect and sometimes am unfair set up.
    I am sick of this word colonisation, blame and excuses of this and that.
    For the record, Ethiopia is the only country to have never been colonised in Africa but remains one of the poorest and poverty stricken places on earth. Fact, I have been there a few times and saw with my own eyes the depths of despair on the streets in Addis and in the countryside.
    Now who are we/you to blame – I suppose us Europeans once again, considering we have pumped in millions of dollars in aid, which has been stolen, whilst the masses stay hungry and without,
    Why – the government does not give a toss about its citizens – only to feed themselves and live in palaces and find some feeble excuses – not colonisation, because that cannot be used in their case.
    So there you are to work this one out!

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    Mazano Rewayi 5 years ago

    If Mugabe was following this debate he would be smiling, it is exactly what has kept him in power all these years. All of us suffer from his atrocities yet never seem to agree that he, alone, is the architect of our misery. Instead, we all seek explanations for our predicament, then quarrel and fight among ourselves as to who has the “right” explanation! Meanwhile, our suffering continues and HE enjoys himself. What we need folks, is for all of us to make our mistakes, learn from them and grow not for one man and his cohorts to make all the mistakes on our behalf and we learn nothing from it. We are all in this s**t together never mind our colour or ancestral origin, let’s just work on getting out.