Rhodesian Politics in the 20th Century: UDI and the Drive Towards Freedom

4 April 2015
Analysis of Rhodesia’s unilateral declaration of independence under the government of Ian Smith.

This paper deals primarily with Rhodesian (modern-day Zimbabwe) politics in the 20th century, specifically that of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) and its ideology. Issues such as the role of ZANU, Cecil Rhodes and the British invasion, and the last one hundred years of Rhodesian history are considered, particularly focusing on the country’s drive towards independence. Cecil Rhodes’ confrontation with the Ndebele tribe, African resistance groups and their role in fighting for freedom, and Rhodesia’s long history of British alliance are all discussed as subjects that help to answer the author’s thesis. The main question the author tries to answer is: Was Ian Smith’s government acting in good intention when declaring illegal independence from Britain?
The road to freedom and development in modern day Africa has been a lengthy struggle for the continent’s nations. Political negotiations, violent uprisings, and anti- European liberation movements were all employed by different African countries at various times, depending on how difficult achieving independence would be. For nations like Tanganyika, independence was obtained through less hectic means; as this country’s primary nationalist movement (Tanganyika African National Union), led by Julius Nyere, won a decisive majority in the 1958 British parliamentary election. TANU’s victory coupled with the support they received from several powerful white-settler politicians resulted in independence for this nation, ultimately constructed around a fair and non-racial constitution.
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