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  • Writer's picturerutendo matinyarare


Updated: Jun 14, 2022

Last week there was a Facebook post making the rounds on how Rhodesia used to assemble cars and how today Zimbabwe doesn’t. Many made a big deal of it but clearly they didn’t fully grasp the economic structural differences that it exposes between Rhodesian and Zimbabwean economies.

Low Skill Labor Short Comings

• The fact is yes, Rhodesia was assembling European cars, but what was the benefit of assembling them when the Rhodesian government couldn’t cater for 96% of their [black] citizens who they taxed disproportionately to keep the colony running? 🤷🏾‍♂️

• Why did they have to use laws to confine those same people to rural areas, denying them [black citizens] quality education, preserving good jobs for just 2% [whites] and charging blacks all manner of taxes if the economy was so great? 🤷🏾‍♂️

• Why were more than 80% of Rhodesians domestic workers and agriculture minimum wage labor with no rights to bargain for their labor? 🤷🏾‍♂️

• Why was the infant mortality in Rhodesia over 200/1000, 80% of black children in reserves malnourished, poverty levels over 80%, literacy at less than 30%, less than 10 000km of road existed in the colony after 90yrs of white rule and high black taxation? 🤷🏾‍♂️

• Why did the country have only 5 secondary schools preparing non-white students for university, less than 180 secondary schools in a population of 7.2 million, 1 university enrolling less than 600 students per year and less than 1000 black graduates after a whole 90yrs of colonizing and stealing from MaDzimbabwe?🤷🏾‍♂️

Assembling Caused A Revolution

• If Rhodesian car assembly was beneficial, why did disgruntled black youth mature quickly to stand up, risk life and limb to march to Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique barefoot, to train and come to fight one of the fiercest armies in Africa, instead of enjoying their college life and apprenticeship programs like other youth across the world? 🤷🏾‍♂️

• Why did Rhodesia stop building the Hwange power station in 1975 to leave the $450mil [$1.1bil today] burden for Zimbabwe? 🤔

• Why did the country produce only 900MW of electricity for the whole country, giving less than 8% of the people electricity by 1980 after 90yrs of governing and receiving only the acclaimed European FDI?🤔

Assembling Caused Debt

• Why did the Rhodesian government leave us a high interest foreign debt of $800mil ($2.7bil today?) taken in contravention of UN sanctions?🤔

• The reason is because Rhodesia was a failed state which couldn’t manage an economy. 🧐

• Even though they assembled cars, they were not creating quality jobs, hence they needed to create laws to confine black people to rural areas and protect the few good jobs for less than 2% of the population. It’s for this mismanagement and corruption that the UN called a crime against humanity that they were overthrown by hungry black youth. 💁🏾‍♀️

Assembling Is Exploitation

• Assembling is not manufacturing, it’s cobbling products together on behalf of the manufacturer at a cheaper price, using low skill and cheap labor to generate supernormal profits for the manufacturer. In other parts of the world it’s called sweat-shopping, slavery or exploitation.🙆🏾‍♂️

It’s a #DiminishingReturnActivity and #TechnologyDeadEnd that doesn’t transfer knowledge, wealth or skill to advance a people or country. 🙎🏾‍♂️

This is why those assembly workers who worked at Willowvale couldn’t invent or innovate any industry or product with their experience after Willowvale shut down, because they gained no skills as slaves in the assembly plant.💁🏾‍♂️

It’s also why even though Rhodesians had a low literacy rate of 30%, they could assemble cars with those semi-skilled workers because it didn’t require much skill.💁🏾‍♂️

Knowledge Economies Don’t Assemble

And let’s never forget that Rhodesia didn’t have black excellence but black cheap labor. 🤷🏾‍♂️

It didn’t have black lawyers, actuaries, statisticians, bankers, robotics engineers, specialist doctors, scientists, computer programmers, brand architects, chartered accountants, entrepreneurs or stock brokers, hence the best they could give our people was putting together cars for other nations.

They didn’t have black telco billionaires, innovators, technologists, lecturers, hoteliers, stock brokers, private equity executives, legal experts, construction company owners or fuel moguls as we have today, because their citizens were unskilled, cheap labor.

Today our people are ambitious and highly educated, they want to own the plant and it’s input, hence, it would be uneconomical for any European company to try and use educated and mentally emancipated people to assemble anything in Zimbabwe today.

Knowledge Economies Require Better Workers Rights

Note that before an assembly plant is established in a country, many third world countries pitch their unskilled, cheap labor for the plant owner to choose the cheapest locale with the least labor laws and easiest access to market to establish the plant.

In Zimbabwe, our educated financial managers, lawyers and government bureaucrats would ask for local equity, local content, living wage salaries and expect a company to abide by labor laws to establish a plant. This is contrary to Rhodesians who used our people as slaves and did not legislate any rights for black workers.

So it’s no longer lucrative for sweat shop owners or FDI to open shop in Zimbabwe because we are no longer slaves. Our people were given back their dignity, humanity and equality by indigenization and land reform. Even the korokoza knows the market price of gold and they want market price less five or nothing for their gold.

Low Skill Economies Allow Exploitation

On the other hand we have South Africa with its low levels of maths & science literacy and legislated cheap black labor for white industry. It has many assembly plants instead of locally owned factories to process its own resources in the richest country on earth by resources given to the world.

Due to that exploitation, 6mil people call a shack home, 55% live below the poverty line, 46% are food insecure, a murder happens every 27mins for someone to feed his family.

There are no black banks, black insurers, black cellphone network owners as most blacks in business are fronts for whites who control 85% of the economy and land as they deplete the resources.

Even their food seeds are owned by American and German companies. These are things the masses don’t even know because assembling creates zombie like plantation slaves who can’t think of owning even their own food because all they want is a job to earn wages, get debt to drink and dance as the slave master designed.

And trust me, it’s not the fault of the slave but it’s bad leadership from the house nigga in the ANC who sold the inheritance of black South Africans for a mirage. It will soon come home to bite them in the arse, while Zimbabwe leverages its preserved wealth.

High Skill Economies Have Higher Expectations

In Zimbabwe our governors are no longer aspiring to assemble cars or extract resources for Europe but they want to manufacture cars and process our own resources, hence they are being punished by sanctions.

Financial illiteracy, lack of appreciation of our nation’s progress and zero patriotism is our biggest problem in Zimbabwe, hence we don’t appreciate that our government has done well by making our people resource owners, maintaining our food integrity, which lifted our people from being cobblers of other nations’ products for slave wages and we should protect that legacy jealously to advance to the next level of development.

By Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare.

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