Ok, not looking for this to end up being a verbal boxing match between racists and ultra liberals, so please lets try and have a decent discussion. I just finished reading Peter Godwins excellent two books When a Crocodile Eats the Sun and Mukiwa: A white boy in Africa both very fascinating books. I had few members of my own (extended) family live for a short time in both South Africa and later (Southern) Rhodesia after the Anglo Boer war until the 30's when they came back to Ireland, so maybe thats why I got some interest in it. Anyway, reading all these little autobiographys by former white Rhodesians you can't help feel like they were a pretty misunderstood bunch. No doubt there was some elements of post colonial racism about in the country, but I can't help but feel they had a point. The black Rhodesians were still living in a very tribal environment. They didn't turn soil, they wanted their children to stay at home and help with the farm rather than go to school, they trusted their witch doctors more than trained medical physicians even to the point that by the mid 60s Rhodesia's hospitals were estimated to be operating at only 60% capacity. The majority of white Rhodesians did want majority rule but wanted it at a slower rate. they wanted people educated and capable before being handed over power. There was hardly any point in giving power to someone just because they were a certain skin colour if they weren't capable to doing the job.
There had to be an element of fear there too. I guess white Rhodesians were as afraid of Democracy as they were of communism. The African experience would have justified their fear. Places like Mozambique to the north had had democracy, but only once. after that it was despotic dictator after dictator. Whites were such a minority in African states they had no political voice. Other African states that gained majority rule ended up in a spiral of tribal warfare and inhuman violence, where one tribe got on top, raped the land for all they could before they were ousted by the next warlord. You have to wonder how supportive the black Rhodesians were of Mugabe and the black nationalists too and how much of it was down to pure fear. It seems logically that they'd reluctantly be more supportive/afraid of the more brutal force. Peter Godwin made an observation in one of his books about how they'd go into villages to try and police the situation and show the locals that they could protect them. They'd then see some operation with them until the local terrorist force would come through, rape, kill and stake people and after that they'd get no co-operation whatsoever.
All the white doom-sayers were vindicated in the end. The bread basket of Africa became the basket case of the continent. Weird thing is that immediately after independence it actually looked like they would pull off the impossible and create a proper run, democratic multi-racial society. Ian Smith spoke about all the great meetings he had with Robert Mugabe and how he seemed to have mis understood the man. All changed pretty rapidly as we know.
sorry...rambled on a bit aimlessly there...not a good idea to try and type an intelligible post while dodging the boss