Social Scientist. v 5, no. 53 (Dec 1976) p. 59.


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MOTE

Meocolonialisf Danger in ^imbabwe

THE MAJOR CONTRADICTION in Zimbabwe today remains the clash of interests between the two sections of the population: the colonized, nationally oppressed African majority, and the ruling white settler minority backed by western imperialism. The Europeans, who from the beginning were determined to hold state power indefinitely by denying Africans any meaningful and equal democratic rights, employed a racist philosophy as a justification for maintaining their privileges. '

After the area had been transformed into a British colony by military conquest, the Africans immediately began resisting the subhuman role to which they were reduced. Second-class citizens in the land of their birth, the apparently disparate African elements became increasingly united as they were oppressed irrespective of ethnic origin, social status or class. With land wrested from them, they were forced to work for minimal wages and to suffer open segregation in every sphere of life in this ^great new visionary Christian civilization." Regardless of being a chief, educated, rich, Christian, or from another country, or ethnic group considered more amenable to the conquerors, an African was treated as befitting his ^status'5, that is, one whom it was ^proper" to oppress. In practice, an African's role in society was one of working for the white man, making the latter wealthier and more comfortable, with out counting the reward. The entire state machinery was geared to safeguarding the social and material interests of the white ruling minority in particular and international imperialism in general.

Although the government tried, as it still does, to use the customary colonial technique of'^divide and rule", national oppression had the effect of counteracting ^tribalism." Nationalism became superior to, and more revolutionary than ^tribalism" as the most effective way of mobilizing all social groups, classes, and religious sects for the common struggle. Everybody, from chief to peasant, from businessman to worker intellectual to illiterate, Christian to atheist, from socialist to aspiring capitalist, was needed for a role in the national struggle for independence. The state machinery was duly used to eliminate the nationalist movements which came into being, but tlie struggle continued one way or another.



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