Ian Smith signing the UDI.

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: The Struggle for Independence in Colonial Zimbabwe 1900-1980:  The Armed Struggle (1966-1979)

  • Nationalists saw that the use of violence and war could not be avoided
  • Many other factors also caused the outbreak of the Chimurenga ranging from reformist pressure politics to armed confrontation
  • The grievances of the locals such as land deprivation, cattle keeping restrictions, inequalities in the education and health sector and poor working conditions were not addressed
  • The government did not want to put reforms without military force
  • Also the arrest and detention of nationalist leaders had escalated as well as the ban of African political parties

The Unilateral Declaration of Independence

  • The situation in the country got heated when Ian Smith declared (Illegally) his independence from the British government with the support of settlers on 11 November 1965
  • The British government viewed this move as rebellion and did not use force on Smith and this angered Africans the more
  • Britain then imposed economic sanction on Smith’s regime in the hope to bring the country down economically as they refused to buy tobacco and sugar produced in Rhodesia
  • The United Nations also called for other countries to put trade and oil embargo on Smith’s regime
  • South Africa and Mozambique however continued to trade with Smith as they became his allies
  • Other countries privately allowed trade between them and Southern Rhodesia, for example, the USA bought chrome and even some British oil companies traded with Smith’s government
  • Majority rule therefore could not be achieved without bloodshed and loss of lives of about 30 000 people

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