Remembering A Great Nation - Rhodesia.My entire family, save for one uncle, fled from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1980 when Mugabe came to power. They all moved down to South Africa where most of us have lived ever since. Since the Apartheid regime fell in 1994 this country has also been gradually declining in many respects.
Don't get me wrong. There is hope for this country. Nelson Mandella played a wonderful role in helping this country move forward from the horrible predicament that was the old Apartheid regime. It needed to be dismantled but the question was how to do it without doing too much serious damage to the country. Perhaps a long-term strategy in terms of tackling this problem and introducing previously disadvantaged groups into the mainstream would have been ideal. But there was already too much damage done and too little time to make amends.
The loss of Rhodesia and its old nationality was very hard on my dad. He loved his country and he nearly gave his life for it in the Rhodesian Bush War 1965 - 1980. Like many ex-Rhodesians he felt betrayed and stabbed in the back by Great Britain, the mother country.
There still is a strong 'Rhodesian' identity or neo-nationality even though ex-Rhodesians are now scattered all over the world. The ex-Rhodesian community still keeps in contact and the glue that held them together back then is still there today. There's a whole new generation of ex-Rhodesians that have grown up outside of the original nation's borders.
No one in my family ever picked up a South African accent although we've lived here for decades. My parents have been told that they have 'Rhodesian' accents and so have other members of the family. I, my brothers and my cousins have a bit of a Rhodesian accent that we picked up from our parents. If you heard my accent you'd probably have a hard time knowing where I was from unless you were familiar with ex-Rhodesians.
Rhodesia was a great nation. It was a paradise on earth - beautiful, safe, the economy was one on one with the American Dollar. It was known as the "bread basket of Africa". Until it was trashed by socialism/communism under the guise of "democracy".
Yes, among a mountain of other evidence that has been documented, my dad himself picked up communist leaflets and other propaganda that had been printed in East Germany and the USSR and distributed among the enemy on more than one occasion. The communists were training them, indoctrinating them, brutalizing them and arming them. Characteristic of communist terrorism, my dad and many of his comrades witnessed horrible atrocities committed by these people. They loved to come and murder whole families, women and children, bayonet them and butcher them in the most horrendous fashion... when the men weren't there to fight them.
The war wasn't lost by the Rhodesians militarily. It was lost over a conference table. The country succumbed to severe international pressure, blockades, trade embargo's and so on. They could have kept up the fight forever and they would have had they been able to finance the war. The South African Apartheid government was supporting Rhodesia financially but they too were coming under immense international pressure and couldn't keep it up.
The Rhodesian military was inflicting terrible casualties on the communists despite the overwhelming odds. They were being armed with the latest tanks, artillery, small arms and other weapons but our people were beating them with what they had. Their Russian tanks were being knocked out by our artillery, and we only had a few of them to go around. We didn't have any tanks. We were lacking anti-tank weapons. The Rhodesian troops were relying heavily on captured enemy weapons and ammunition depots. Their own weapons were being used against them.
The Rhodesian army was one of the most professional, efficient and deadly in the world. If any army in the world knew how to fight a war it was the Rhodesian army. ex-Rhodesian military personnel, generals and officers have went on to revolutionize and train the military in the UK, United states and so on.
The Rhodesian was a unique breed of man. In both world wars, the Rhodesians turned out more soldiers for the British army per head of its population than any other Commonwealth nation. The same was true for the Rhodesian Bush War. Nobody complained. They served their time in the army, they moved on. There was never a shortage of men who were willing to serve their country.
The Rhodesians were one of Great Britain's most loyal subjects. It's a pity the same sense of honour and decency was not returned.
In retrospect, the conditions under which these Colonial nations were established were immoral and wrong. They cannot be morally justified in any way. However, two wrongs can never make a right. Hate responding against hate can only produce more problems.
It's easy to make that judgment from my perspective and that of my family and easy to overlook the sufferings of the peoples who were unjustly subjected to ill-treatment and disrespect in many ways. The best I can do is regretfully and respectfully acknowledge them and apologize on behalf of those who were responsible for history's wrongs and injustices.
The past has been left behind though and the future has gone forward. Things are fine the way they are and not all gloom and doom.
The purpose of this story was not to lament on the negatives, but merely to acknowledge and reflect on the past... from one party's perspective. Perhaps this story could give others an insight into the way one party sees these things and help bring about a greater understanding.