An early image of Africa Unity Square.

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: Zimbabwe 1894-1969:Resistance of Economic Exploitation by Natives

  • Exploitation of peasants and worker was greatly resented
  • Peasants and workers usually used passive resistance against white settlers
  • They used methods such as refusing to offer labour in mines, factories and farms
  • They refuse to pay rentals for their stay at white farms
  • They refused to cooperate with white government officials
  • They moved to free land so they could live in peace but this became difficult after 1930’s Land Apportionment Act
  • Later they resorted to strikes such as that of Shamva and Wankie mine workers which was later crushed by the government
  • In the 1920s the workers began protesting through labour unions
  • This led to the creation of the Rhodesia Industrial Commercial Workers Union (RICU) in 1927 led by Clements Kadalie
  • Other leaders of RICU were Masotsha Ndlovu and Charles Mzingeli and their major aim was to challenge colonial capitalists
  • However the trade union did not last long as it was suppressed by the colonial government after the enactment of the Industrial Conciliation Act of 1934
  • The Act prevented Africans from forming trade unions and to compete on the labour market
  • Smaller trade unions were formed to try such as the Railway Workers Association which organized strikes in 1948 which were suppressed severely by the colonial government
  • The strike was however followed by a general strike which spread from Bulawayo to Gweru and then Harare

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