Judith Todd

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Judith Todd (born 1943) is daughter of Garfield Todd (1908–2002), Rhodesian Prime Minister 1953-8, and a political activist regarding Zimbabwe. She was married to Richard Acton from 1974 to 1984.

Todd was a political activist from the early 1960s opposing the minority government of Ian Smith. In January 1972, she was arrested and sent to a jail in Marandellas. Her father was arrested at the same time and went to jail in Gatooma. During her imprisonment, she briefly went on hunger strike in protest against their detention, but relented after enduring several incidents of force-feeding.[1] Several weeks later, both were released and were subsequently expelled from the country, becoming personae non gratae. She relocated to London. In 1978 she was among the founding members of Zimbabwe Project Trust, a humanitarian organization connected to the Roman Catholic Church. It was founded to help Zimbabwean refugees. Her exile lasted until all detentions were lifted in February 1980 under the process leading to the independence of Zimbabwe. The trust relocated from London to Zimbabwe and Todd was appointed director, a position she held until 1987. The trust's focus shifted to humanitarian aid, especially relocation and training of liberation war ex-combatants.[2][3]

In 1984 Todd was raped by a senior officer in Mugabe's military on his orders, after she criticised the genocide of Ndebele civilians, the traditional opponents of Mugabe's own tribe.[4]

She became a strong critic the regime of Robert Mugabe.[5] After an unsuccessful candidature for a seat in parliament for the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) she worked as a journalist. She was a founding shareholder of the Daily News newspaper in 1999, the paper was banned in 2003.[3] Also in 2003 Todd was stripped of her Zimbabwean citizenship.



  1. ^ The Right To Say No, by Judith Garfield Todd (1972)
  2. ^ Through the Darkness: A Life in Zimbabwe, by Judith Garfield Todd (2007)
  3. ^ a b Richard Saunders, Judith Garfield Todd Biography David Krut Publishing, South Africa, 19 August 2009.
  4. ^ Robert Mugabe critic 'raped', Daily Telegraph, 9 July 2007
  5. ^ Mugabe was rotten from the start Interview with Judith Todd discussing her political activities in Zimbabwe and her father, The Sunday Times, 23 September 2007

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