War in Rhodesia, 1965-1980

Joseph Mtisi, Munyaradzi Nyakudya, Teresa Ann Barnes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Chapter 5 discusses the complexities of the civil war/liberation struggle fought in Rhodesia in the wake of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) by the Rhodesia Front government. It demonstrates how the crisis in the country escalated as opposition to white rule became increasingly militant with young recruits leaving for military training. Early guerrilla incursions resulted in such battles as that at Chinhoyi in 1966 and the Wankie Campaign in 1967-68, and by the early 1970s, a full-scale guerrilla war had engulfed the country. It is argued that this was a multi-layered struggle consisting of various other ‘struggles within the struggle’ which the chapter attempts to untangle, and rejects the ‘myth’ that it was a purely racial war. Among other things, some of these conflicts were due to personality clashes, class and ideological differences, gender and ethnic tensions. The chapter also discusses the key developments in the final phase of the war such as the indiscriminate bombings on ZANLA and ZIPRA refugee camps in Mozambique and Zambia respectively, and the guerrillas’ use of more sophisticated weapons like the surface to air missiles used to bring down a civilian Air Rhodesia plane in 1978. An analysis is made of the ‘motivations’ for the warring parties agreeing on the unsatisfactory peace agreement at the Lancaster House Conference in 1979, resulting in general elections that led to independence on 18 April, 1980.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBecoming Zimbabwe
Subtitle of host publicationA History from the Pre-colonial Period to 2008
EditorsBrian Raftopoulos, Alois Mlambo
Place of PublicationJohannesburg
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9781779220837
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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