Catastrophe: What Went Wrong in Zimbabwe? by Richard Bourne

By Richard Bourne

Not anyone in 1980 can have guessed that Zimbabwe may develop into a failed kingdom on any such huge and tragic scale. during this incisive and revealing publication, acclaimed author Richard Bourne indicates how a rustic which had each prospect of luck whilst it completed a behind schedule independence in 1980, turned a brutal police kingdom with hyperinflation, collapsing lifestyles expectancy and abandonment through a 3rd of its electorate under 30 years later. starting with the British conquest of Zimbabwe and masking occasions as much as the current precarious political scenario, disaster is the main accomplished, up to date  and readable account of the continuing situation. Bourne indicates that Zimbabwe's tragedy isn't just approximately Mugabe's "evil," yet approximately historical past, Africa this present day, and the world's attitudes in the direction of them.

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Nonetheless the process was not straightforward, and key steps included a London meeting of officials of Britain, the two  c ata s t r o p h e Rhodesias and Nyasaland, to consider the feasibility of federation in March 1951; they came up with a complicated scheme under which the territories retained their different responsibilities for African affairs, and separate constitutions and relationships with the UK, but a federal cabinet and parliament would be responsible for defence, economic policy, European primary and secondary education and other matters.

Nyamanda, eldest son of Lobengula, also took a commanding role. Around 200 whites, and a similar number of black servants, were hacked to death. But by the end of May, Bulawayo had been relieved. Contrary to the company line that the Shona had been rescued from subservience to the Ndebele, this rebellion was followed, in June, by a Shona uprising also; over a hundred settlers were killed in the first few days, and survivors retreated to Fort Salisbury. Paramount chiefs and spirit mediums inspired the Shona, although some Shona stayed neutral or even collaborated with the whites.

But crucially he was supported by imperial troops, and crucially the Ndebele did not coordinate with the Shona. In May the Ndebele suffered their first defeat, and when Rhodes arrived in Bulawayo on 1 June  c ata s t r o p h e – just prior to the Shona rising – a public holiday was declared in his honour. Rhodes demanded utter ruthlessness in pursuing the Ndebele in what turned into a guerrilla war. He generated propaganda about African barbarism in London. The Ndebele defended a succession of hills, first the Mambos, then the Matopos, and Frederick Carrington, the imperial commander, sought to starve out the Ndebele troops in the Matopos.

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