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Former featured article candidate Rhodesia is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
January 25, 2006 Featured article candidate Not promoted

Sorry. I’ve been looking for the demographics of Rhodesia bu found nothing. What ws the percentage of the white pupolation in 1965 and in 1978? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:08, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Background section[edit]

The Background section is not neutral point of view. Rather than an NPOV and accurate description of the pre-UDI Rhodesia, it is an attempt to glorify the administration at this time. For example, it describes it as a "unique state which reflected its multiracial character". It was "multiracial" only in the obvious sense that it literally had people of multiple races, but the state did not respect people of non-white races in any meaningful sense. Similarly, it says "White residents, meanwhile, provided most of the colony's administrative [...] skills". They "provided" the administration in that the white administration (government) sought to retain power (hence, the UDI) and prevent democratic rule.

Key parts also make vague unquantifiable claims dependent on a single source of questionable reliability: ("owed little to foreign aid", "well-organised and praised for their efficiency"). Mattflaschen - Talk 05:15, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

This topic has been broached before, and I'll give the same response I did there: that section isn't an attempt to glorify or vindicate the Southern Rhodesian administration because those facts are proportionately accurate and presented in an apolitical manner. White Southern Rhodesians provided most of the country's skillset prior to World War II and the early 20th century boom in the colony was largely a result of their capital, since it was resident whites as opposed to the British government who invested heavily in industrialisation. Saying these people played a significant role in opening up Southern Rhodesia to industry is no more POV than say, "Amsterdam's Jewish community played a significant role in opening up Holland to the diamond trade". The metropolitan power had little to do with the actual pace of development in this particular dependency after the 1923 referendum. It's not nearly the same as implying white Rhodesians were somehow superior due to their cultural values or colour.
Keep in mind that the paragraph you criticised was discussing the situation in purely economic terms irrespective of who was in charge or what the politics of the day were. "Administrative skill" clearly refers to managerial positions in industry not political careers.
As for being a multiracial state, yes it certainly was, to what degree being a matter of continuing dispute. There were black MPs in the Rhodesian parliament. The fact that you consider this representation meaningless does not make it any less multiracial. --Katangais (talk) 07:36, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
No page about Rhodesia edited by rhodesians is going to be NPOV. By the way, even though the country was 95% Black African at least, there were always more white voters than Black African voters. Anyone who skips over that is disingenuous. MrSativa (talk) 02:09, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
Nobody here that I'm aware of is denying that. Incidentally, I'm also not aware of any ex-Rhodesians editing this article or contributing here. Is there an issue to discuss concerning specific content in the article? --Katangais (talk) 02:39, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

Addition of "bad material"[edit]

Howzit all,

This concerns the latest iteration of the page, as revised by User:ComicsAreJustAllRight. I have objected to a number of the changes, specifically removal of a section concerning Gukurahundi as "a conspiracy theory". It has been generally accepted that the campaigns carried out by the CIO, Fifth Brigade, and members of the Police Support Unit in the Midlands in the 1980s resulted in about 20,000 deaths and were a byproduct of the ZIPRA/ZANLA ex-combatant fighting, which also included the 1981 Entumbane Uprising. I think we can all agree it is also no secret that South Africa was involved with the initial surge of ZIPRA dissidence, as documented by Peter Stiff in his books The Secret War and Cry Zimbabwe. This was very generally the opinion in Southern Africa at the time and well researched by journalists such as Brendan Seery, as well as the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (p.6). Stiff included in his book a number of interviews with former members of South African military intelligence who described Operation Drama, the arming of Super ZAPU militants, in detail. While conducting research for the article "Rhodesian Brushstroke", for instance, I came across multiple references in Stiff's compilation about how Rhodesian uniforms were re-issued to dissidents sent to infiltrate the country from South Africa, which I noted there. There has also been considerable discussion in this regard at the "Gukurahundi" talk page.

User:ComicsAreJustAllRight's attempt to whitewash this piece of history as "nutty conspiracy theories" - to say nothing of his blanket removal of well-cited information pertaining to this, including Stiff's citation, is rather odd considering the article does have a few points which are much more hotly debated by scholars of Zimbabwean and Rhodesian history, but that's not one of them: namely, a) Gukurahundi happened, and thousands of civilians were purged by Mugabe's government, and b) South Africa was involved in the initial phase of dissident activity, which it supported largely through the efforts of ex-members of the Rhodesian security establishment. Due to the vague nature of the pretext given for removing the entire paragraph it is unclear whether the contributor was referring specifically to South African backing of the dissidents being false, or Gukurahundi as a whole. Either way, I think that sort of thinking is WP:Fringe, given the ample amount of evidence and especially considering the mushrooming of recent literary interest on Rhodesian and Zimbabwean history.

Other points to address include the latest revision's removal of what the editor perceives to be "weasel words" - "communist". Communist in itself is not a weasel word, as it merely denoted the political ideology espoused by both Mugabe's ZANU and Nkomo's ZAPU at the time (when Rhodesia was in existence, both Mugabe and Nkomo repeatedly made reference to Marxism as their official ideology). It is important when addressing the topic of the bush war that ZANU and ZAPU considered themselves both African nationalist and Marxist when it came to their politics, while their cause received considerable support from the Southern Rhodesian Communist Party prior to its banning. ZANU-PF - and by extension, ZAPU, chose to abandon Marxism-Leninism as the party ideology only in the 1990s. I object to the labeling of any political ideology, whether it be apartheid or communism, as a "weasel word" when discussing a political party in a political context.

Thirdly, I am very much concerned by edits such as this one where valid information was given, with a source, but instead of merely tweaking the language the actual content was removed as an "opinion". There were final talks in October prior to UDI; that is relevant information. Both sides continued to cite rather irreconcilable opinions - the British wanted immediate majority rule, or at least the immediate commencement of the transition process, Smith's delegation continued to claim these demands were too radical. Certainly, "a formula doomed to failure" could be challenged and removed without affecting the content, but again it's unclear which part of the sentence is contested as "opinion" rather than fact, because all of it was blanked.

Fourthly, the blanket removal of cited information here without a contesting source. The statement that something is not factually accurate cannot be substantiated against sourced data without another source to back it up. The sentence which is now missing from the article goes as follows: "This situation certainly made it very different from other lands which existed under colonial rule, as many Europeans had arrived to make permanent homes, populating the towns as traders or settling to farm the most productive soils...."

Both Northern and Southern Rhodesia were exceptional in this regard. Scott Taylor's source makes ample reference to the fact that European settlers from the British Isles and other colonial dependencies elsewhere were primarily interested in farming or trading in the British South Africa Company's dominion.

One final nitpick: the tag at the top of the editing window was added to this article by an administrator for a reason. South African and British spellings are the rule per the relevant style guide linked there, so the addition of American spellings are generally frowned upon. --Katangais (talk) 22:48, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

"It has been generally accepted ... resulted in about 20,000 deaths" those are weasel words. Generally accepted by whom, and more importantly, based on what? Just because a number is repeated over and over again doesn't give it extra credence. The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe lists 3,750 in it's conclusion. They based their estimate on actual research. Who has done more or better research since then? The number of deaths has become a political football for the MDC. For instance, their Finance Minister Tendai Biti turned the 20,000 into 30,000. The MDC's National Policy Coordinator Eddie Cross turned 30,000 into 80,000. The first time the 20,000 number surfaced was in Joshua Nkomo's diary. MrSativa (talk) 04:44, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
The figure of 3,750 was taken from a much larger report entitled Breaking the Silence, Building True Peace: A Report on the disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands, 1980-1988, which I understand was released in 1997. When I was in South Africa I did make a concerted effort to find a full copy of the book, but seeing as how it has been out of print for over a decade and was apparently only published in Zim, was unsuccessful. What we have to work with regrettably, are bits and pieces online, including at the link you helpfully posted. It makes for a very interesting read but my point is what you posted is not the full report.
However, this is my understanding of the situation: the figure of "3,750" is not given in the report as the total civilian death toll between 1980 and 1987 - nowhere in the report does the Commission state that figure is an estimate of such. To claim that's what it represents is deliberately misleading. Rather, it was the number of deaths reported specifically to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe and its interviewers, who were affiliated with the Bulawayo Legal Project Centre (formerly the Legal Aid Clinic).
Let's put this in perspective. The Commission arrived at this number by interviewing people in two districts: the Tsholotsho area (Matabeleland North) and the Matobo area (Matabeleland South). The figure does not include the deaths that went unreported to the Commission, since nowhere near a majority of people in either of those two provinces were interviewed (to do the math, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South were both home to well over a million residents, and the Commmission interviewed a grand total of several hundred). It does not include the deaths that occurred outside the Tsholotsho and Matobo districts.
The report specifically states: "In order to try and get a more complete idea of what it was like to be a civilian in a rural area in the 1980s, the Bulawayo Legal Project Centre (BLPC) sent interviewers into two chosen districts to collect more information. It was only possible to reach a few hundred people in this way, and it was only possible to go to these two areas. We know there are thousands of others who suffered and who did not speak to us. We also know that districts such as Lupane, Nkayi, Silobela, Gokwe, Bulilimamangwe, Gwanda, Beitbridge and others also suffered violence in the 1980s. It would have been too expensive and have taken too long to try to speak to everyone. But by choosing one district in each province we hoped to give everyone some idea of how things were in these years." They chose one district apiece in Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South to interview people. That's only two out of thirteen districts, and excludes the Midlands, which was also covered in the report and incidentally, is a much more populous province. The interviews in Matobo were also incomplete, because as the report states, "BLPC also interviewed people in Matobo. However, they did not speak to as many people as they had in Tsholotsho. This was partly because there was not enough time and partly because people were afraid to talk..."
Regarding the cited death toll of between 3,000 to 4,000 people (only 2,000 named victims could be identified and confirmed dead), the report also notes, "These figures are very low compared to what seems to have really happened, but they do give an indication of events, and of which areas suffered." Two paragraphs down, the report reiterates this point for their readers, although you seemed to have missed it: "An effort was made to add up all the information to say how many people we now know to have suffered various offences. The numbers are much lower than what really happened, but they provide a starting point to which future information can add. The full report shows where these figures have come from..."
I would be more inclined to doubt the "20,000" figure if the only people espousing it were Joshua Nkomo, affiliates of his party, and Ian Smith... Smith in fact put the number at 30,000 in his memoirs, so I have a feeling that's were that originated, rather than Tendai Biti. But Genocide Watch agrees with the 20,000 figure, as does the BBC, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, and the Guardian Newspaper also notes that the "20,000" number has been commonly cited. But where did it come from?
I have heard on a prior occasion that the big 20,000 first originated in Nkomo's diary, but here's the truth: it actually originated in the Catholic Commission's report, the same one you cited the 3,750 figure for.
It's like this - the Commission could confirm 3,750 deaths. But elsewhere in the report (in a segment that has not been published online) they estimated a death toll of 20,000.
In short, I've heard your points before. But I've also had good reason to write the things I did. From an encyclopedic point of view, "it has been generally accepted...the campaign... resulted in about 20,000 deaths" was and remains, I believe, a fair comment. --Katangais (talk) 06:08, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

thames television report on the end of rhodesia from 1979 called Goodbye Rhodesia[edit] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Man74 (talkcontribs) 16:54, 3 May 2017 (UTC)


"Resistance" movements seem rather biased, whatever you think the actions of the guerrillas were guerrilla/terrorist war (with the majority of victims being of course Black). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:59, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

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Black Nationalism or African Nationalism?[edit]

This article refers to ZANU and ZAPU as African and black nationalist on separate occasions, despite the article for African nationalism saying "Not to be confused with black nationalism..." Not to mention only ZANU is listed as African nationalist on their article. I think the term black nationalist [forces] should be replaced with either African nationalist [forces] or insurgent [forces]. Insurgent is my preferred option as it is the only one 100% accurate. ActuallyPalpatine (talk) 00:36, 15 January 2018 (UTC)

Is there really nothing about the economy of Rhodesia?[edit]

--Spafky (talk) 15:31, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

@Spafky:This book mentions a bit about Rhodesian economy [1]. Rhodesia is an interesting case as it did well economically despite international sanctions and the Bush War. Gustmeister (talk) 00:56, 14 April 2018 (UTC)