There was very little animosity between black and white. Ian Smith himself, although he was prime minister, frequently travelled around without so much as a bodyguard or a policeman to protect him. By contrast, Robert Mugabe, the supposed “liberator”, travelled with a massive entourage of motorbikes, police cars, armoured vehicles, soldiers, etc. Why is it that Smith could travel alone even during the dark days when Rhodesia was under attack from terrorists, yet Mugabe did not feel secure unless surrounded by protectors? If Mugabe really brought peace and freedom and joy to his people, what was he afraid of?
But the Marxist revolution began to take its toll. I remember spending a weekend with a friend on his parents’ farm, and we were carefully instructed as to what to do if a hand grenade was lobbed through our bedroom window at night. Such instructions were passed on to children matter-of-factly. Everyone had to be prepared. Mugabe’s terrorists were committing shocking atrocities. In addition to young men going to the army, older married men, family men, were spending a few months every year in the armed forces as well. The revolution was escalating. But Rhodesians stood firm, isolated from the rest of the western world. They were doing their utmost best, small as the country was. “With incredible gallantry young national servicemen, as well as the regular army, took up the challenge in the 1960s and not once in all the years of the bush war that followed did they face defeat. They defended the people especially in the rural areas with outstanding tenacity, irrespective of colour or tribe of people who needed protection. It was the tribal people who suffered worst at the hands of terrorists.” Rhodesians had a sense of destiny; of a special, almost unique purpose in the world. As the League of Rhodesia put it in 1976: “We in Rhodesia have a very strong sense of national purpose. We feel we’ve been singled out by Providence to be the stumbling block in the path of communist aggression. There is yet time for the Western powers to put Rhodesia’s stand in its historical perspective; but they are leaving it dangerously late”.
This was correct. This tiny country stood, almost alone except for the support of South Africa until near the end, and against overwhelming foes, against Communist aggression in southern Africa, for 15 years. The Soviet Union picked off the immensely strategic southern African countries one by one. Mozambique, Angola, Zambia – these were all in the Soviet camp. The ultimate prize, of course, was the Republic of South Africa, the richest and most powerful of them all. But to defeat South Africa the Communists first had to pick off each one of its neighbouring countries. White-governed, conservative Rhodesia resisted. And because it did, Communist victory in all of southern Africa was delayed for many years. And this was an immense blessing not just for Rhodesia and South Africa, but for the entire West as well, even though the western liberal leaders could not see it, or rather – did not want to do so.
When a Rhodesian soldier, who had been paralysed while fighting for his country, was asked over 25 years later whether his injuries had been pointless, he replied, “We were fighting Communism and it was the right thing to be doing, and I am very proud to have been part of that.” That, in a nutshell, encapsulates the Rhodesian spirit.
Rhodesia Becomes Zimbabwe – and the Nightmare Begins: the Matabeleland Massacres
Jesuit-trained Marxist terrorist Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980. The West knew what kind of a sadistic, vicious, brutal, cold-blooded Communist he was… and still they supported him. Yes, Britain and the United States, in particular.
Mugabe took over an incredibly well-governed, prosperous, beautiful land. This, after all, is the country of the Victoria Falls, and some of the greatest game parks in Africa. It was known as “the breadbasket of southern Africa”, feeding its own people and exporting food to other parts of the continent. Education was of the highest standard. It was rich in mineral resources. It was so well-run and so prosperous that even in the late 1970s, during the height of the Bush War, the Rhodesian dollar was worth more than the U.S. dollar.
So just how bad did Zimbabwe become, under Mugabe and his henchmen? Read, and weep. Weep, if you loved Rhodesia. Weep, if you love liberty. Weep for the suffering millions, black and white, who have had to try to eke out a living in Zimbabwe’s nightmare for almost four decades.
Within a few years, Mugabe and his insane policies began to reduce once-prosperous, once-peaceful Zimbabwe to ruins. The western world, far removed from southern Africa and, quite frankly, not much interested once it had seen to the overthrow of the white government and the installation of a black Marxist one, did not fully realise just how utterly devastated Zimbabwe was. Words cannot adequately convey the full horror of the situation; the full magnitude of the destruction. Way back when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, the joke was, “One used to visit Rhodesia to see the Zimbabwe Ruins [Rhodesia’s ancient and mysterious stone temple and fortress]; now one will visit Zimbabwe to see the Rhodesian ruins.” Liberals used to scoff and say that this was simply the view of white racists who could not believe that blacks could govern a modern, successful state. Alas, those liberals (like liberals the world over) were living in dreamland: Zimbabwe was, indeed, ruined. And it was reduced to ruins by the Communist philosophy of its evil dictator.
Mugabe put the blame everywhere except where it belonged: on his own shoulders and on those of his cronies in the ruling party. He blamed Britain, the former Colonial power which ruled Rhodesia prior to Ian Smith’s UDI in 1965. He blamed Zimbabwe’s now-tiny white population. He blamed America. But he knew very well that Zimbabwe was in ruins because of himself. Yet his sycophantic cronies in the ruling party continued to pour praises on his head. At one time, for example, Vice-President Joseph Msika said, in reference to calls for Mugabe to step down: “Mugabe go? Go where? He should rule even if it means he is walking with the aid of a walking stick. He is the father of our nation; he is entitled to rule us forever.” Ah, that, right there, is the perennial problem in Africa: the meaning of “democracy” to African Communists. For them, whoever came to power against the white Colonialists by means of terrorism and bloodshed deserves to rule forever. “Democracy” is what these wicked men hide behind, and the world is fooled by it. Government of the people, by the people is anathema to these men. It is government through the barrel of a gun; government by a strongman.