Rhodesia Essay

1815 words - 7 pages


A synopsis of a case-study of Southern Rhodesia's move to become Zimbabwe can provide a knowledge of certain
conflict resolution strategies. The British began settling Southern Rhodesia in 1890. The first movement to rename this
area came in 1895 when that land was taken by the British colonists and renamed Rhodesia, after Rhodes, one of the
British leaders in the early settlement who had died about that time. Between 1895, when Machonoland became
Rhodesia, and 1934, very little conflict surfaced even with the escalating domination and oppression of the blacks by
the white empire. In 1934 the first African National Council organized and began holding strikes protesting white
power. The strikes were very poorly organized and the white control so massive the strikes quickly subsided, having
gained nothing.

The conflict remained repressed--and stable--until 1946. Another power imbalance occurred when a new wave of
settlers came from the British empire and Europe, after World War II, thereby increasing the number of white
Europeans in Rhodesia. The result, from 1946 to 1955, was intensified white oppression.

In 1955 there was a new attempt to organize the blacks under the African National Youth League. This group, with
Josh Nucomo as leader, staged some bus boycotts similar to the strikes held by the ANC in 1934. In 1957 Nucomo
tried to merge the National Youth League with the ANC, but as soon as an opposition party was formed, the
leadership was imprisoned and the whole movement outlawed. This temporarily halted resistance efforts. No one was
able to continue the move against the oppression. This pattern was repeated in 1960 with the formation of the
National Democratic Party (NDP). As soon as the NDP was formed, leadership emerged and power looked like it
was developing, the NDP was banned and its leader imprisoned. Without leadership, again, the movement ended.
This illustrates a typical problem in ethnic conflict--when one person leads a movement without the solid support and
training of others, the removal of one person can halt the movement.

Repeatedly black resistance movements were formed and subsequently banned. In 1961, after banning the NDP, the
Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) was formed and banned as was the Zimbabwe African National Union
(ZANU) 1963. Finally, the liberation movement decided that they were not going to be able to accomplish their goals
through political action, so they turned to military action instead, forming the ZNLA, the Zimbabwe National
Liberation Army, which was trained in China for guerilla warfare. In addition to using guerilla tactics, which are
difficult, if not impossible to "ban," the ZNLA was also able to attain more unity between black groups than had the
previous resistance efforts. During the training process, tribal differences were melded together to make revolution the
unifying concept. This gave the ZNLA more strength than the past political...

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