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I've just seen this thread for the first time, obviously brought to the top of the page again by recent posts. I have no experience of southern Africa but spent a very instructive two years in Nigeria in the early '80s. On a somewhat lighter note: most of my Nigerian students were under the impression that Ian Smith's first name was 'rebel', as that adjective invariably preceded his surname in news stories there.

I've studied a little African history, taught history for 35 years and my youngest daughter, bless her, is minoring in African history, so I've brushed up a very little bit again lately. And, I think anyone who knows me at all would put me to the left of center on most political spectrums - a liberal democrat who can appreciate the benefits of a well run socialist state. [sweden comes to mind.]

So, here goes:

I don't think one can discuss Rhodesia or S.A. without the politics. As in so many other areas of life, anyone who has enough knowledge to be worth listening to already has an opinion and probably a strong one. Having said that, as the name of this outfit suggests, we have good claim to be gentlemen one and all.

I suspect that, had I been born in S.A. or Rhodesian, or 1930s Germany, I would have carried a rifle for my country too. I only hope, that like the ex-Legionnaire Chris describes, that I would have been able, at least later, to take the long view and recognize that both sides had a stake and some rights. I hope I would have accorded the black Rhodesians/Zimbabweans the same right to independence as those former colonies which did not have large white populations. And, as has been suggested, the right to self rule, or adulthood for that matter, must include the right to f**k it up! And hindsight, always 20-20, can never be used to justify the wisdom or otherwise of decisions made in the past.

I live in a country which screwed over, and is still screwing over our aboriginal peoples. I think I, probably not even a direct descendant of any of the oppressors, have some responsibility to try and remediate some of those wrongs. That doesn't mean I'm blind to the faults evil acts of either side back then nor that I'll support any measure the First Nations may feel they need to regain their power, culture or history. No one is going to give Manhattan island back to the Lenape nor the West Indies back to the Carib Indians. What happened, happened. When I taught this history I pushed very hard on two things: that some things are always wrong and that the ends do NOT justify the means, a notion that the American 'war on terrorism' is wrestling with right now.

I think we can and perhaps even should discuss the men and women of principal and courage on both sides- all three sides? - of the Rhodesia/UDI/Zimbabwe struggle did and believed without either demonizing the 'enemy' nor glossing over the ugly deeds that all wars engender.

Ok, off my soap box now! But I do hope this thread continues and multiplies!

Peter

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I agree Peter. I was merely trying to show we had non of the knowledge of hindsight and were asked to make life altering decisions when most kids that age today only have to choose between pizza or chicken for supper. I don't deny them the right to anything but I had no other point of reference growing up that what happened around me was anything but normal. It may sound naive, but yes I was. I liked our maid and was sad when the police took her away, I liked our garden boy and missed him when he was sent back to Malawi. Did I find the road blocks, bombs or police raids normal. Yes. I did. I did not have opinion, it was good fun to sit at the bottom of the sports fields listening to the gunfire in Alexandra township in 1976. I have a load of black people I don't like and a load of white people I don't like...we have thankfully lived through an extreme period of change and still are. But...as my grandfather at the Somme and my other grandad at Dunkirk, my uncle in Cyprus and my dad in Germany, we all for one time another had one thing in common, a binding factor across generations. The army. I loved Rhodesia and enjoyed my time there, I do miss the "colonial" lifestyle. It was awesome. But at age 50, I feel like a Victorian in the swinging 60s. Sentimental about an era that actually wasn't even that good.

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"I don't deny them the right to anything but I had no other point of
reference growing up that what happened around me was anything but
normal. It may sound naive, but yes I was."

Agreed... If I could timewarp my kids back to cape town in the 1980s and let them grow up there.... I would in a second... I would feel a little guilty... but at the end of the day egoism may just win through.

But like I said.... it had no real long term survivability....

Is there anywhere in the world where a Minority rules and a majority just shuts a f up? Any other countries that had that were caught up in the Arab Spring.

Did the Rhodesians make a major error in not having an educated Black Middle class? Personally i think so.... To run a country you need a middle class who have too much to loose if things go pear shaped...

South Africa seems to have one in place, as Strapper says...

"Which reminds me of a meeting I had some 15 years after independence
with a black captain of industry, who was shot in the neck during the
Soweto riots of 1976. In a top management workshop he asked me"

Its a guy like that, with a house, a BMW, and money in the bank, who has an interest in seeing things "Work"

Best

Chris

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That's right Chris, I enjoy sometimes that I was on the wrong moral side. That's just the obnoxious bit of me coming out, but the point is what "we" have in common is the fact we all served. In retrospect a privilege, today's youth will not share that bond. I remember we used to say "vasbyt" if things got rough. My grandfather said they used to say" let it roll" different words same emotion. I'm sure the legion had their own "Taal" and anyway... Back in the early 80's in jo'burg, bus rides were free for a boy in uniform and chicks dig a boy in uniform. Happy days.

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I had a Burger and French Fries yesterday for lunch... i dont usually, but I did... and them ihad a visetor, and my Wife said, "fend for yourself" so i made Pizza.

Was i right? No. Am i loosing sleep? No.

But i know it was somthing that was not good.... well, it was at the time...

Do you guys know this ? ;-) Apply it to SA... it works..... ;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qg48ZZ2wYfM

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Some very good points from all of the recent posts. I agree that there is no need to feel 'guilty' - modern history has shown - often enough ,

that ordinary people get swept-up in events and really have little control over what is being done in their name.

Like many British people of my background, I have an affinity for Africa. I have no colour prejudices at all - but, having said that I wouldn't

invite my English gardener to have dinner with me (perhaps not quite true - it always depends on the person). People find their own level of friends. I have spent , over the years, nearly 30 of them

in different parts of Africa. I have had few negative incidents in that time and therefore, in my mind I think a lot of the problems were

caused by Europeans not being prepared to share more of their lives with the majority.

C'est la vie - hopefully the World will learn from it's mistakes - but, not in my lifetime. Mervyn

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Chris

Loved the Louis CK bit. There's a new '24 hour comedy' radio station where I am and I get bits of his stuff and like it but hadn't heard this one. We the entitled ones!

Quite coincidently, and referencing another thread, I mentioned yesterday, in The Lounge, that I'm following a web site called '40 Acts of Generosity', a new way to observe Lent. Today's suggested activity is 'Make a list of things you're thankful for.' 'White' and 'male' gotta be near the top of the list! And 'born and bred' in the west needs to be up there too. I was standing in a day care centre one morning during Gulf War I and heard a woman talking about phoning her sister is Tel Aviv. This was when Hussein was lobbing random missiles into Israel and the sister was telling this lady how hard it was to get the 4 year old to keep his gas mask on! I'm not much given to spontaneous prayer - my loss, not God's - but I closed me eyes right then and there and said 'Thanks, God, for at least one thing I'll never have to worry about!"

Not sure I agree with the idea that ordinary people can't change events - look at Arab Spring - but certainly feeling guilty for where we were born or what our ancestors did or didn't is pretty pointless. I think the fact that a bunch of [white males] who've never met face to face can be having this 'conversation' says a lot. Can't imagine doing it 2 or 3 decades ago, even ignoring the web thing. Too many people and states weren't ready to talk or to listen. I may have said this before but a friend of mine - Michael Johnson, a member here - had a bet that South Africa would NEVER sort out apartheid without bloody revolution. I know he's very very glad to have lost that bet!

I'll close with this: my youngest is starting the wheels in motion to spend her third year in university on exchange in South Africa, at Rhodes or U. of Cape Town. We'll see about that - not cheap and a very long way from home!

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Many of the later events in Rhodesia were a direct result of the how the early settlers behaved with the Native tribes of the time.

The serious rebellion of 1896 was obviously unexpected and resulted in many deaths.

Just for interest - and to show some of the events, I am adding some photographs taken at the time.

(These are taken from a book published in 1975. "The '96 Rebellion - BSAC Report of the Disturbences in Rhodesia 1896/7"

Authors Earl Grey and Hugh Hole) Under my post on Matabele Weapons - British Badges, I will show some other examples.

This map shows Rhodesia as it was in 1896 - The Matabele were on the lower part and the Mashonas on the upper.

...............................................................http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-6209-0-44068700-1361366550.jpgclick

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......................................................................http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-6209-0-36502000-1361366805.jpgclick.............................

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...................................................................http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-6209-0-87277800-1361366965.jpgclick............................

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..................................................................http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-6209-0-25902000-1361367091.jpgclick...........................

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...................................................................http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-6209-0-29043400-1361367285.jpgclick...........................

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.................................................................http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-6209-0-23788500-1361367896.jpgclick..................................

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.......................................................................http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-6209-0-30976300-1361368013.jpgclick..............................

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.......................................................................http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-6209-0-59404000-1361368162.jpgclick...........................

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I remember - in the 1960's - visiting Cecil Rhodes grave at the Matapos Hills. A very simple bronze plate set

into the rock. I think this must be the hill shown - perhaps someone could confirm this - also, has the grave

been desecrated ?

.....................................................................http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-6209-0-67960400-1361368439.jpgclick...................................

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I find it interesting that when the first expedition took place in 1890, Rhodesia was devoid of European buildings -

this photo was taken in 1896 and Govt. House is quite palatial...................

...................................................................http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-6209-0-68729100-1361368729.jpgclick....................................

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