Ian Smith and Harold Wilson aboard the HMS Tiger

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: The Struggle for Independence in Colonial Zimbabwe 1900-1980:  The Beginning of the War (1965-1971)

  • The war started in the late 1960s but was weak because Nationalist leaders such as Nkomo and Mugabe had been arrested in 1964 only to be released a decade later in 1974
  • The remaining leaders had to go in exile to prepare for the war
  • In December 1963 both ZANU and ZAPU were recognized by the OAU Liberation Committee

Crocodile Commando (4 July 1964)

  • It was a group which was led by William Ndangana
  • They killed a Rhodesia Front Chairman near the Eastern Border of Melsetter called Petrus Oberholtzer 

Sinoia (Chinhoyi) Battle 29 April 1966

  • The first batch of war fighters were trained between March and October 1964 in Moscow, North Korea, NanKing and Pyongyang
  • The forces smuggled arms into the country and planned to strike on 29 April 1966
  • Only seven freedom fighters fought the war at Sinoia and six perished
  • The six are Simon Chimbodza, Godwin Manyerere, Christopher Chatambudza, David Guzuzu, Arthur Maramba and Nathan Charamuka
  • Ephraim Sherenje survived and was captured by the Security Forces
  • Fighting continued at intervals up to 1967

Wankie Game Reserve Battle of 27 August 1967

  • ZAPU forces attacked in 1967 after they had got a military alliance with ANC of South Africa
  • They fought various battles in Karoi, Bulawayo, Kariba, Lomagundi, Lupane and Figtree
  • Of these battles the Wankie battle was the fiercest and lasted about 6 hours
  • The Africans were eventually defeated as they were few in numbers and unreliable
  • The first recruits of ZAPU and ZANU were usually of Zimbabweans living outside the country
  • They were forcibly recruited into the army, ill trained and they deserted the army
  • The nationalists had to restrategize

Tiger (1966) and Fearless (1968) Talks

  • The British noticed that the Zimbabwean situation was getting out of hand and the sanctions they had imposed on him were not working
  • They realized they had to have face to face talks with Smith
  • They met aboard the HMS Tiger which was a Royal Navy Cruiser anchored near Gilbraltar
  • The British urged the Smith to grant majority rule unimpeded before independence
  • Africans viewed the talks as a sell out as they were not involved in the talks
  • Many other talks were done but they did not produce any results as Smith became more harsh

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