Pan Africanism : Chimurenga

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by cherryblossom, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    The First Chimurenga is now celebrated in Zimbabwe as the First War of Independence, but it is best known in the Anglo-Saxon world as the Second Matabele War. This conflict refers to the 1896-1897 Ndebele-Shona revolt against colonial rule by the British South Africa Company.

    Mlimo, the Matabele spiritual/religious leader, is credited with fomenting much of the anger that led to this confrontation. He convinced the Ndebele and Shona that the white settlers (almost 4,000 strong by then) were responsible for the drought, locust plagues and the cattle disease rinderpest ravaging the country at the time. Mlimo's call to battle was well timed. Only a few months earlier, the British South Africa Company's Administrator General for Matabeleland, Leander Starr Jameson, had sent most of his troops and armaments to fight the Transvaal Republic in the ill-fated Jameson Raid. This left the country's defenses in disarray. The Ndebele began their revolt in March 1896, and in June 1896 they were joined by the Shona.

    The BSAC immediately sent troops to suppress the Ndebele and the Shona, but it took months for the British to re-capture their major colonial fortifications under siege by native warriors. Mlimo was eventually assassinated in his temple in Matobo Hills by the American scout Frederick Russell Burnham. Upon learning of the death of Mlimo, Cecil Rhodes boldly walked unarmed into the native's stronghold and persuaded the impi to lay down their arms.[2] The First Chimurenga thus ended on October 1897 and Matabeleland and Mashonaland were later renamed Rhodesia.
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Second Chimurenga (1966-1979)

    The Second Chimurenga, also known as the Rhodesian Bush War or as Zimbabwe's so called liberation war, refers to the guerrilla war of 1966-1979 which led to the end of white-minority rule in Rhodesia and to the de-facto independence of Zimbabwe. African nationalist politicians have always regarded Rhodesia as a British colony that paid allegiance to the British crown with British courts having appellate jurisdiction over Rhodesia. Its physical manifestation was, however, as a conflict between the minority white settler government of Ian Smith Rhodesian Front and the African nationalists of the Patriotic Front alliance of ZANU (mainly Shona) and ZAPU (mainly Ndebele) movements, led by Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo respectively.[3] [4] This is a possible explanation of the failure of all attempts by the minority white government of Rhodesia to reach a negotiated settlement and the substantial success of the British initiated negotiations, which culminated in the Lancaster House Constitutional Agreement in 1979.
    Official perspective

    This conflict is seen by the present day Zimbabwean Government and the official MDC opposition as a war of national liberation from colonialism and racism. At the time of the conflict, the then Wilson Government in London and Patriotic Front (former military alliance of ZAPU-PF and ZANU-PF) shared this view, along with the OAU, United Nations and many members of the Commonwealth of Nations such as Canada, India, Ghana and New Zealand, China the European Union and the former Eastern Block states.
    Perspective of the Rhodesian Front

    At the time, however, the Rhodesian government saw the conflict as a fight between one part of the country's population (the minority whites) on behalf of supposedly the whole country, including the majority racially discriminated blacks against another, externally financed party made up of allegedly black radicals and communists in defense of the country and of feigned Western ideals. The Nationalists saw their country as having been occupied and dominated by a foreign power, namely, Britain, since 1890 - even though the British Government, in the person of the Governor General had been expelled in 1964 by the Rhodesian Front government of Ian Smith and had only ruled since the end of the British South Africa Company in the 1920s. However, this expulsion of the British was not recognized by both the British Government and the African nationalists and the rest of the International community who reacted by imposing an economic blockade on Rhodesia. This did not deter the minority Settler-dominated Rhodesian Government to view the Nationalists as Communist agents and their conflict as part of the defense of Western values (Christianity, the rule of Law and - ironically - democracy); they refused to compromise on most political, economic and social grievances as raised by the Nationalists who claimed to represent the majority black Shona and Ndebele population, in part because the Smith Administration saw the traditional chiefs as the legitimate voice of the Shona and Ndebele population and the Nationalists as dangerous usurpers. With no end in sight the Smith Administration attempted to weaken the power of the nationalists cause by acceding to an "Internal Settlement" which ended formal white rule, changed the name of the country to Zimbabwe-Rhodesia and created the country's first nominal black head of government, Abel Muzorewa. However, unsatisfied with this and spurned on by Britain's refusal to recognise the new order, the Nationalist forces persisted.[5]
    The Second Chimurenga/Bush War ended when the white-ruled (yet ironically black led; by a democratically elected black Prime Minister Abel Muzorewa) government of Rhodesia returned power to the British government at the 1979 Lancaster House Constitutional Conference, at the behest of both South Africa (its major backer) and the US, multi-ethnic elections were subsequently held in early 1980. Britain recognized this new government, and the newly internationally recognized, and independent country was renamed as Zimbabwe.
     
  3. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Third Chimurenga

    The ruling ZANU-PF calls the present era in Zimbabwe the Third Chimurenga. The Mugabe administration claims that colonial social and economic structures remained largely intact in the years after the end of Rhodesian rule, with a small minority of white farmers owning the vast majority of the country's arable land (many parties within Zimbabwe question the extent and validity of these assertions, considering twenty years of ZANU-PF rule, the "Willing Buyer-Willing Seller" policy paid for by Britain and the diminished size of Zimbabwe's white population). By 2000 ZANU militants proclaimed violent struggle for land reform the "Third Chimurenga." Militants who carried out the land redistribution were often called "War Veterans", although many were too young to have served in the liberation struggle. Roving bands of these individuals began walking the country-side, occupying white-owned land. These occupations were often associated with atrocities committed against both white landowners and their black staff. White landowners received no compensation for their lost property, although many settled in several neighboring African countries to set-up new farming operations. At the end of this process Zimbabwe entered a massive food crisis that exists to this day. The beginning of the "Third Chimurenga" is often attributed to the need to distract Zimbabwean electorate from the poorly conceived war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and deepening economic problems blamed on graft and ineptitude in the ruling party.

    The opposition briefly used the term to describe Zimbabwe's current struggles aimed at removing the ZANU government, resolving the Land Question, the establishment of democracy, rebuilding the rule of law and good governance, as well as the eradication of corruption in Government. The term is no longer in vogue amongst Zimbabwe's urban population and lacks the gravitas it once had so was dropped from the opposition's lexicon.

    http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definitions/Chimurenga
     
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