ORIGINS, CULTURE, IDENTITY, LITERATURE
History, War, Exodus, Destiny
The Last Rhodesians provides definitive insight on this unique culture’s origins, identity and imprints in Africa. It’s an evolutionary saga of adversity and economic success that after 16 years of civil war led to the demise, sunset and ‘fall’ of Rhodesia. In this odyssey, negotiated settlement brought an end to the state in 1979; but Rhodesians ‘never died’.
The war was fought in hundreds of bush battles, across adjacent states, in espionage, secret sanctions-busting, for rural hearts and minds, and in covert diplomacy. Fault lines in ancient history and hostile Cold War powers in Moscow and Peking – with East Bloc belligerents, African states, ethno-nationalist armies and allied Western interests – coalesced in revolutionary war against Rhodesians.
This multi-ethnic society – tagged ‘the jewel of Africa’ – bequeathed an inheritance that Zimbabwe squandered. Its presidents crafted a failing state beset by brutal ethnic genocide, economic regression and social malaise. Yet the economic bedrock of 90 years from 1890, hidden or unacknowledged, is still found, as Zimbabwe was birthed from Rhodesia and still survives on many of its legacies.
Zimbabwe scrubbed Rhodesians from the country. Residual Zimbos are under 5 per cent of Rhodesians worldwide, and 0.07 per cent of all people in Zimbabwe: about as few as in 1900. Serial Rhodesian exoduses during the last 50 years marked these ‘disappearances’. Still, the originating culture, its constructs, literature, art, poetry, icons, images, symbols, lingua franca and cyber-Rhodesiana sustain this social identity worldwide.
Unique insights depicted in The Last Rhodesians are based on critical review of its vast literature: by eminent authors, historians, novelists, journalists, thinkers, politicians, soldiers, troopies, spies, diplomats, poets, satirists, cartoonists, economists, Rhodies, Whenwes and a legion of foreign critics – in hundreds of works, of fiction and non-fiction, in documentaries, music and film, made about a society adrift, Africa’s ‘white tribe’ of ‘scatterlings’ now found in 60 countries.
The ‘House of Stone’, the inheritor state, remains. After its false dawn in its savannah paradise, the ‘jungle grew back’, leaving an imperfect future for all.
It was 511 years ago when the first white man, Antonio Fernandes, entered Zambesia, and 167 years since the first pre-Rhodesians arrived. Rhodes landed in Africa 150 years ago and it’s been 120 years since his burial. Rhodesia acquired self-government 100 years in the past, and Federation ended 70 years ago, while Ian Smith declared UDI in 1965, 57 years ago. Zimbabwe’s independence was in 1980.
ISBN: 978 – 1- 928440-95-6