top of page
  • Writer's picturerutendo matinyarare


Updated: Jun 14, 2022

Ian Douglous Smith was a monumental failure, hence young 16 year old black boys and girls in Rhodesia were forced to walk barefoot to Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania, to learn how to use guns so that they could violently overthrow his incompetent government instead of being in school.

The Smith government was so incompetent that its misgovernance and corruption was categorized by the UN as a crime against humanity.

It collected taxes from all Rhodesians but only offered basic services to less than 8% of the population.

Incapable of providing housing and jobs, Smith, created laws to confine 92% of the Rhodesian population in concentration camps called reserves and keeps, while preserving the most fertile land and the few good jobs for whites.

He failed to offer basic services: water, sanitation, electricity, healthcare, social services and jobs to 92% of the population as governing powers were required to do by human rights law.

95% of Rhodesian workers were lowly paid farm workers and menial labor with no education, skill or bargaining other words, they were slaves.

When Smith left power there were only

● 5 high schools preparing black kids for one university that took only 500 students a year;

● Rhodesia had less than 4000 graduates out of a population of 7.4mil people, most of whom were whites who migrated to South Africa after independence;

● of every 1000 black children born, 200 died before 5yrs of age due to poverty diseases and a lack of healthcare.

● Meanwhile, the malnutrition rate was over 80% in farm and mine laborers who constituted over 58% of the Rhodesian workforce.

The man and his government failed to walk the talk. They failed to dispense their own culture, systems and so called civilization to avoid the masses revolting, because of incompetence and corruption, hence their government fell.

I hear many Zimbabweans trying to make it seem like Smith's Rhodesia was better than Zimbabwe.

They struggle to make it sound like Smith created a lot of industry, while failing to explain why the Rhodesian government would need laws like the Master Servant Act and Industrial Concilation Act to preserve jobs for whites if Smith had created enough industry.

They also can't explain why most people were stuck jobless in reserves, languishing in poverty or why over 70% of workers were paid wages below the poverty datum line.

Why did our parents feel the need to march barefoot to Tanzania in their teens, to learn how to use guns to overthrow a successful government instead of being in school studying for a better future?

Shouldn't young Rhodesians in a successful Rhodesia with jobs, been busy attending tertiary or working in the many industries built by Smith, dating and enjoying their youth as we did in Zimbabwe?

Do we see ghetto youth today trying to march to Tanzania or any other country to learn warfare, with all their education, which they can take anywhere in the world?

Do we see Zimbabwewn youth marching to Tanzania to learn how to overthrow a black government in a country where they saw one of their own [Ginimbi] make it on Zimbabwean opportunity made possible by liberation?

Do we see young people in Zimbabwe leaving land, gold, resources and all the opportunities in Zimbabwe, to learn how to use a gun? No! because despite Zimbabwe's challenges, most of which are a result of the colonial legacy and its modern day manifestation of neocolonialism, we are light years better off than our parents under 90 years of the Rhodesian government.

Our generation's failure to advance is not because of our government, a village boy called Ginimbi showed us that, but it's us failing to be creative and to use the tools and opportunity that our government gave us [the best education in Africa, access to resources, access to land, one of the biggest and most profitable stock markets in Africa, control of our economy, control of our own debt/currency and control of our own labor].

Putting it bluntly, Zanu Pf gave us all we need (more than other Africans are given by their governments) and now we are the ones that need to use those opportunities to improve the country.

Over 80% of our GDP comes form the private sector, which means Zimbabwe is built by us the people and not government.

Us having problems like joblessness, uncollected refuse and dilapidating infrastructure in a country under economic war (sanctions) and the most educated Africans, is not a reflection on a black government that is failing, but it's a reflection on the impact of sanctions and our failure as black citizens to defend our country and make a return on investment to a government which gave us subsidized education, healthcare, social services, food and transport so that we could build the nation in future.

By Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare.

9 views0 comments