Crisis in Rhodesia [3rd impression ed.]
 0893881260, 9780893881269

Citation preview

Crisis in Rhodesia


Crisis in Rhodesia NATHAN M. SHAMUYARIRA

With a foreword by Sir Hugh Foot









1966 966

Dedicated to my late father,



who died February 28th 19; 8. He, like so many of his generation in Rhodesia, struggled to educate his children in the hope that they would lead a fuller life than his own, least realizing that the glittering white men’s world had more cruelty and hazards than any he had known in his open fields and airy round huts in traditional Africa.


I first met Nathan Shamuyarira in New York in 1962. He came as one of the group of Southern Rhodesian Africans, led by Joshua Nkomo, who were petitioners to the United Nations; and I was immediately impressed with his steadiness and his sincerity and his honesty. At that time I had never been to Southern Rhodesia, but I had to speak for the United Kingdom on Southern Rhodesia in the Fourth Committee of the United Nations. I was eager therefore to find out as much as I could from all available sources about a problem which threatened, so it seemed to me, to cause an explosion in southern Africa - an explosion which might inflame all Africa and involve the world. So I set myself the task of reading and hearing all I could about Southern Rhodesia. I had of course access to all the material provided by Sir Edgar Whitehead’s Southern Rhodesian Government. Much of what was said by that government was impressive. The policy which Sir Edgar advocated seemed to have some promise. He was prepared to accept increased African participation in the Southern Rhodesian Legislature. He had openly declared in favour of the abolition of the Land Apportionment Act. This was certainly a very different policy from South African Apartheid. On the other hand, the African leaders of Southern Rhodesia seemed still prepared to accept compromise in order to avoid conflict. It was late certainly, but not too late - so it seemed to me as I listened to Sir Edgar’s supporters and also to the African leaders - to find some agreed road to avoid deadlock. I had to take into account that the United Kingdom Government was committed to introduce a new Constitution and to allow new elections on the basis which had been agreed with Commonwealth Minister Duncan Sandys. I had to accept those decisions as facts. So it seemed to me that every effort should be devoted to persuading all concerned to agree to a fully representative constitutional conference after the forthcoming elections. It also seemed to me vital that the United Kingdom Government should make a public statement that independence would not be granted to Southern Rhodesia until a new course had been set at such a conference. My own conclusion was that unless these two things could be done the opportunity for Southern Rhodesia to proceed in order and peace would be lost. It was a last chance; if it were not seized division and disaster seemed inevitable. In the summer of 1962 I consequently sought to persuade the British Ministers to adopt the course I urged. I flew from New York to London to press my case. I thought that I had succeeded. But then, after an

Foreword anxious silence, the answer came that what I had proposed would not be done. I resigned. It is not because it is any longer of practical importance that I repeat this now. What has happened since then in Southern Rhodesia has con¬ firmed my fears. Mr Winston Field, not Sir Edgar Whitehead, won the election. Mr Field was-replaced by Mr Ian Smith. The policy of sup¬ pression was intensified. The African leadership split. Disorders and intimidation grew. Newspapers which reported African opinions were banned. African leaders were imprisoned or restricted. The hope of conciliation and consultation and co-operation between the white minority and the black majority faded. What a tragedy - a tragedy of misunderstanding and a tragedy of missed opportunity, a tragedy of bad timing and a tragedy of inadequate initiative. All my experience in Arab, African and West Indian countries sup¬ ports the contention that in political and constitutional advance timing is all-important. If you miss the tide you never make port. I greatly fear that we missed the tide in Southern Rhodesia in 1962. In this book Nathan Shamuyarira tells the story of the tragedy. I myself don’t pretend that I can check or vouch for the details of the story which he tells. But I can give my evidence about the qualification and the sincerity of the author. Nathan Shamuyarira is - this I am sure - a man of sound judgment and a man of good will. I saw how balanced and thoughtful he was in New York in 1962 when others were carried away by the heady rhetoric of the Fourth Committee of the United Nations. He is a man who would have made an able Minister in any of the newly-independent African countries. He has a force in his character, a sureness of touch and a clear-headed courage which at once command respect and confidence. He is the man to tell the tragedy of Southern Rhodesia. And in a way the tragedy of Southern Rhodesia is also the tragedy of Nathan Shamuyarira. His hopes have been dashed. His hand has been spurned. His patriotism has been rejected. Flis gifts, which should surely be harnessed to a constructive national effort, have been driven into fierce opposition. The story he tells is a story of waste and folly and blindness. If any way is to be found out of the present impasse it is first necessary to understand what created it. No one can better tell the tragic story of how the deadlock arose than Nathan Shamuyarira. Trematon Castle Saltash Cornwall August 1964

Hugh Foot


Author's Preface




Tea-time Partners



Enter City Youth League



Congress Spreads like Wild Fire



NDP-ZAPU: A Forward Thrust




Land, Cattle and Grazing Grounds



Wonderful Poverty



Stones and Streets in place of Pencils and Schools



Opponents Within the Gate



Too Many to Vote






The Battle of Words



Meet the ‘Cowboys’



The Road to Bloodshed






Author’s Preface

This book is a product of a protracted, and at times spontaneous effort. It began as four articles - on land, franchise, wages and industrial conciliation - which I intended to publish in The African Daily News in 1962. When completed they were too long and detailed for publication in a newspaper. A friend encouraged me to expand them into a book. I worked on ten more chapters at random over weekends. The fourteen chapters together made a disconnected mass of information. I could not pluck up enough courage to rewrite and reorganize the manuscript. I put it away for two years. In 1964, two publishers expressed an interest in it. With more encouragement from some of my colleagues at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, I finally reorganized and rewrote this manuscript. I have attempted to describe the rise and growth of the African nationalist movement between the years 1955-64. I am not assuming that there was no resistance to settler rule before then. There were African tribal organizations before European settlement, and resistance movements of many sorts from 1890 to 1950. But the nationalist move¬ ment as we know it today started in earnest with the City Youth League in 1955. This is where our main story begins. In writing this book it was my sincere hope that it should explain to Rhodesians and people in other parts of the world interested in our problems what the nationalist movement really stands for, and how it proceeded to establish itself as the most dominant political force in the country, even at the time when all government effort was directed at destroying it, root and branch. What has stirred these simple, placid people? To the European who gets his knowledge of African aspirations from his cookboy; to the Londoner who may be confused by the mosaic of issues and events in Africa generally, and Rhodesia in particular; to those Africans who feel caught in an avalanche of events they can neither comprehend nor control, I hope it can shed some much-needed light. It is a committed book. It supports the objectives of the nationa¬ list movement. I hope its main theme will come over to you in an objective, balanced, and informative manner. Nothing would be farther from my intention than merely to propagandize or apologize for the nationalist movement, or conversely, to engage in an indis¬ criminate and ideological satanization of the white settlers just because they are white settlers. Either conclusion would do violence to the facts. Most of the information used and impressions reflected came to me during my term as editor of The African Daily News in Salisbury, 195 6— 1963. However neither my previous nor present employers have

Author’s Preface anything to do with this book; they do not even know that it is being published. The leader of my party, the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, President of the banned Zimbabwe African National Union, knew of my inten¬ tion to publish this manuscript but he was arrested and detained before I could show him a copy. Since I left Rhodesia in September 1964 to pursue further studies at Princeton, it has been impossible to make contact with him in jail (later restriction). The same applies to the deputy leaders, Leopold Takawira, Robert G. Mugabe and Enos Nkala, who were also in restriction at the time the manuscript was ready to go to press. As I will not be returning to Rhodesia until the later half of 1966, long after this book has been published, I cannot associate my party or its leaders with a book they have never read or approved. The story told here is based entirely on my own personal reflections. Needless to say some African nationalists will and should differ with me on matters of detail, and certainly others will just for the sake of it. To white settlers, particularly those in authority at present, some of the facts will hurt: the truth always does to all of us. However, if Crisis in Rhodesia can urge you, as an individual, or as a member of any group to which you belong, to think of and about constructive solu¬ tions to the problem about which you are reading, it will have served its limited purpose. To Eileen and Michael Haddon I owe a great debt of gratitude. Michael lost two secretaries because of this manuscript - one said it offended her conscience, another gave no direct reason but complained of too much work. Eileen went through both the first and second drafts with a blue pencil drawing my attention to repetition and errors of fact. She made no contribution to the views expressed. My thanks are also due to Clyde Sanger, the correspondent in East and Central Africa for the London newspaper. The Guardian, for lending me his file of cuttings, and for his invaluable advice and work in reorganizing the second and final draft. Also Naomi Howe, who was no ordinary typist: she picked up several spelling mistakes. Finally, I am deeply indebted to my wife, Dorah, without whose assistance the book would never have been written. She kept raising what became a very awkward question, ‘When will the book be published?’ Having received all this help, it is entirely my own fault that this book is not better than it is. I have had opportunity to observe and comment. There is a Shona phrase which says ‘the Lord gives a good harvest of nuts to those with¬ out teeth’; another says ‘fruits drop where there are no pots’. I take all responsibility for the views expressed between these covers, and the inadequate manner in which they are presented. March 30th 1965 Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey USA

N. M. Shamuyarira

Part One


Tea-Time Partners

May 3rd 1953 . . . It was a good day to come to Salisbury, the capital of Southern Rhodesia, and to start work as a cub-reporter on African Newspapers. At twenty-four coming to work in any capital city would be exciting, and Salisbury was certainly that. John Gunther, who was in Salisbury for a week, was quoted in that day’s Sunday Mail as praising its broad streets, flowering shrubs, brilliant sunsets and climate, and calling it ‘the most American city I have seen in Africa’. To add to the zestfulness and excitement, the paper had a front-page picture of maypole dancers and the back page was full of how Stanley Matthews had scored a last-minute goal to win the FA Cup for Blackpool. Other columns had a share of gloom: the Christie murder case, wars in Laos and Malaya, the British Government’s refusal to let a party of chiefs see the Queen and protest against the plan for federation in Central Africa. But it was more a time of young hope: the exchange of Korean War prisoners at Panmunjon, the preparations for Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation in June, and the forming of the Liberal Party in South Africa also provided news for that Sunday’s paper. Particularly was it a time of optimism in Southern Rhodesia. A week or so before, the British House of Commons had approved the draft Order-in-Council setting up the Central African Federa¬ tion. The chiefs from the northern territories might protest at being linked with our settler-dominated country, and the British Labour Party might express grave doubts (Mr Gaitskell was doing so at a May Day Rally). But for most of the hitherto oppressed Southern Rhodesian Africans the prospect of federation with the Bridsh protectorates of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland seemed full of promise: the new policy of partnership, which was to be inscribed in the federal constitution, would bring to a speedy end


Crisis in Rhodesia

the segregation, humiliation and indignation which we had suffered for forty years, since Britain made the country a selfgoverning colony under settler rule. The northern territories would help to break down the racial barriers and the Southern Rhodesian whites would even of their own accord, inspired by partnership, pass laws which would let us share political power and economic privileges and enjoy social justice. This wasn’t such a pipe-dream. The newspapers which catered to white readers were full of this spirit. On the day I arrived in Salisbury, the Sunday Mail had a leading article about where the federal capital should be sited: wherever it was, said the article, whether on the outskirts of Salisbury or the tobacco-lands of Marandellas, it had to be extra-territorial for ‘colour discrimina¬ tion in any form would be taboo, its hotels and public buildings would be open to all’. The Municipal Association was having an argument with the government, because the association wanted to extend the municipal franchise to any adult who had owned or occupied immovable property for six months, instead of the government’s qualification for a voter which was then the owner¬ ship of property worth £500 or an income of £240 a year. Even in the plans for celebrating the centenary of the birth of the arch¬ settler, Cecil Rhodes, it was being specifically said that all races and creeds would have their representatives in the pilgrimage to his hilltop grave at World’s View. The whole country sailed on this little sea of hope for five years. For me, nothing could be more exciting, for I was coming from Domboshawa government school where African teachers were discriminated against socially and could never hope for promotion to executive posts, however capable we were. On the school notice-boards, the European staff were referred to as ‘Mr . . .’ while Africans were called ‘Teacher Shamuyarira’ or whatever was our name. The attempt by African political groups, gathered together into the All-African Convention by Joshua Nkomo and Charles Mzingeli to stop the coming of federation had failed; the Convention had collapsed, because many articulate Africans were seeking to try out the new multi-racial order. Nkomo himself became a candidate for one of the two federal seats reserved for Africans in Southern Rhodesia. For these five years African Newspapers Ltd, the company which owned three weeklies and The Daily News (started in 1956), was considered by many to be a mainspring of partnership. Four

Tea-time Partners


of its editors became symbols of this federal slogan. Jasper Savanhu was editor-in-chief at the time I joined the papers: he and the editor of the Bantu Mirror, a weekly in Matebeleland, Masotsha Mike Hove, were elected the first two African Federal MPs on the common voters’ roll. There were only 441 Africans on that roll, and Savanhu and Hove were obviously indebted to the 50,000 white voters for their seats. For years Savanhu was introduced to every important visitor who came to the colony, was wined and dined in many European homes, and became a leading black member of the White Establishment, ending as a junior Minister in Welensky’s cabinet. Hove became the Federal High Commissioner to Nigeria, the first African to be appointed to such a high diplomatic post. Their successors at African News¬ papers, Lawrence Vambe and Kingsley Dube, followed the same path of partnership: Vambe became the Press Attache at Rhodesia House in London in 1959 with the job of convincing the British people that the Federation was advancing satisfactorily towards a maturing partnership between the races; and Dube became First Secretary to the Federal Government’s mission in Washington. So that, when I succeeded Lawrence Vambe as Editor-in-Chief in July 1959, I was inheriting a chair which had produced plenty of evidence of black co-operation with the white regime of both Southern Rhodesia and the Federation. It was widely accepted that I would be true to type. Leaders of the ruling parties lost no time in trying to persuade me to think ‘reasonably and re¬ sponsibly’. I had the rare opportunity of working closely with European policy-makers, hearing at first hand about their hopes. It was my job to talk to overseas visitors, including newspapermen and TV commentators, who were anxious to find out what was going on. Many people who were unable to reach the African political leadership directly used to ask me what the leadership thought. At all sorts of meetings, including that very Rhodesian affair the sundowner, I met many Europeans who have remained personal friends. At one time I feared to lose contact with my own people. I know I was in the firing-line, taking risks with a middleof-the-road attitude, but I had a firm belief that in the end reason¬ ableness would prevail. I thought that all the Europeans needed were persons to interpret genuine African thought for them. I kept in touch with successive African leaders, in politics and trade unions and sport and culture. I would like to feel I managed to retain their confidence, although at times having to collaborate


Crisis in Rhodesia

with European government supporters must have torn their con¬ science, as it tore mine. In the end, the welter of segregatory legislation which forces every African to live in specified areas fortunately kept me where I belong - and where I am proud to belong. I had watched from close quarters as an editor the hypocrisy and double-talk of white politicians and those numerous powers behind them, who are easily seen at work in a comparatively small town like Salisbury. I had watched the intrigue which went on behind the scenes to maintain a good posture overseas, and the attempt to pacify some African aspirations without surrendering an inch of the real ground of power. Once I had firmly identified the intentions of the Europeans, I realized that persuasion and tolerance and full co¬ operation could never win the day; it became clear to me that only a majority African government could bring the changes I wanted to see. Liberal groups and individual Europeans were active in the African townships, trying to convince the Africans that a new era was at hand. My first contact with this spirit of togetherness was in the discussion groups then being organized in Harare township by Hardwicke Holderness, one of the few Rhodesian-born liberals who are years ahead of immigrants from Britain who may have voted Labour there but somersault, as soon as they land here, and start defending white privilege. Moral Rearmament was also active, impressing on Africans the need to observe the four Absolute standards of Honesty, Truthfulness, Unselfishness and Love. Several leading Africans who were given trips to the MRA world centre at Caux returned to tell multi-racial audiences how they had been transformed from their previous state of greed and selfishness. The Capricorn Africa Society, under the leadership of Colonel David Stirling, and the United Club, which was inspired by Arch¬ bishop Paget, were working vigorously to promote inter-racial relationships. For a long time Capricorn had as its executive secretary Leopold Takawira, a bustling, chubby ex-schoolmaster; only when disillusionment became complete for many of us did Takawira lay aside these ideals and become a nationalist leader, now reputedly known as ‘Lion of Zimbabwe’. And there was the Inter-Racial Association, which did a good deal of research into social conditions in order to build up a case for legislative reform. Towards the end of 195 3,1 heard about this

Tea-time Partners


Association from a diminutive and quick-witted young man who stormed into our office one lunchtime, slapping everyone on the back while criticizing the lot of us. He grabbed a telephone while keeping breath to accuse African leadership of cowardice and to shout to us: ‘Nobody wants to go to jail. You all just want to sit here on your bottoms, theorizing about your rights.’ This was George Bodzo Nyandoro, who not surprisingly became a fiery leader of the nationalist movement and cheerfully endured four years of detention and restriction without trial from 1959 to 1963. I later joined the Association and recruited my room-mate in our bachelor lodgings, Edson Sithole. After I had briefly des¬ cribed the aims and objects of the Inter-Racial Association, he cut in: ‘As long as it is multi-racial, I will join.’ Edson Sithole was later to spend those same four years in restriction, and used his time so studiously that he was called to the Bar the year he was released. The small offices of the Inter-Racial Association in Kingsway were a bee-hive of activity, and we were not much restrained by the knowledge that we were violating the laws of the country in mixing as much as we did. The Land Apportionment Act (Section 41a) then made it impossible for Africans to be accom¬ modated in hotels or use club premises for social purposes. The Liquor Act forbade us to drink bottled beer and wines, let alone spirits. Legally, the Association could only meet for discussion and had no hope of becoming profitable through acquiring a liquor licence and setting up as a full-scale club. But we risked subverting the law and organized some parties, believing the government would not dare invite criticism of its racial attitudes by prosecuting people who practised what the government preached. These groups found different spheres in which to work. David Stirling led Capricorn into a campaign for constitutional reform. As you might expect with a guerrilla warfare leader in the Libyan desert, he impressed Africans at first sight with his forthrightness. He was outspoken in criticizing the existing racial patterns. His grip of your hand when he greeted you was as firm as his grip of your mind and imagination. His Society worked hard to write a Charter, applicable anywhere in East and Central Africa, which was approved at its Salima Convention in 1955. The charter recognized that human dignity was sacrosanct and proposed a Bill of Human Rights, as well as the equitable distribution of all


Crisis in Rhodesia.

land and natural resources. It was weakest on the franchise, for it argued that a vote was a privilege and not a right, and the Societyproposed a multiple vote system which could give some people as many as five votes: although it meant a wide extension of the vote to Africans, it also meant that the European minority could treble its voting strength. Capricorn made headway in Southern Rhodesia, but was dis¬ credited from the start in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland because it had been an eager advocate of Federation. As much as anything, the opposing reactions to Capricorn in the different territories showed how Federation, which was anathema to Africans in the north, instead held some promise for us in the south. Even today the phrase ‘capricorn’ is commonly used in Malawi to mean a sell-out, a collaborator with colonialism or the settlers of Southern Rhodesia. And although the Capricorn Con¬ vention was held at Salima, on the shores of Lake Nyasa, no Nyasa nationalist attended it. I went up to Salima as a reporter for my paper, and shared a hut with a white Rhodesian. It was the first time in my life that I had undressed and slept in the presence of a European, or seen a white man undress. After the Salima Convention, Capricorn was faced with the task of finding a political vehicle to implement its policies. Several attempts to start its own political parties failed dismally, and by 1958 the Society was losing ground. Its last worthwhile function in Southern Rhodesia was to join other groups to raise funds for the starting of an adult education college in Salisbury, at Ranche House. The Inter-Racial Association, in contrast, formed the first bridgehead for African influence inside the governing United Rhodesia Party. It particularly worked through Hardwicke Holderness, a backbench supporter of the Prime Minister, Garfield Todd. The association’s members did research work which led to the amendment of the Liquor Act, and some im¬ portant amendments to the Land Apportionment Act. It also persuaded government to amend the State Lotteries Act, so that Africans could take part; and the word ‘native’ began to be dropped from official documents. In the first months of its fife, the Association worked hard on bringing black and white trade unions together; in July 1954 there was a first meeting of union leaders of both races, and this opened the way to Todd’s appoint¬ ing a parliamentary Select Committee to look into the question of

Tea-time Partners


recognizing Africans as workers. The Industrial Conciliation Act at that time did not recognize us as workers at all - although I cannot imagine what the legislators thought we were, if not workers . . . furniture? - and so gave Africans no rights to negotiate with employers. The Select Committee recommended this recognition, and also the setting up of non-racial unions. The amending bill was not enacted until i960, and then only having been withdrawn twice and made less effectual; but the Association could claim credit for starting the ball rolling. Several of us went over this bridge to work from within Gar¬ field Todd’s party. By 1956 a stage had been reached when Africans had begun to regard the government as their own. African activity in the URP was not extensive but it was effective; the few URP Africans enjoyed a degree of confidence from their community which the Africans in today’s white-led parties could never claim. But in those days the URP Africans were looked up to for advice and the redress of grievances. And when in 1957 Todd announced that he would resign if there was not a special voters’ roll to extend the vote to several more groups of Africans according to service as, say, schoolteachers or nurses (it was in fact part of the common roll but liable to devaluation if the numbers rose above a certain figure), he announced it first at a small annual general meeting of the Inter-Racial Association on a Saturday afternoon, when Salisbury is usually deserted. Nevertheless, towards the end of 1957 all these groups began to lose membership and spirit. The reasons for their failure are important in understanding some African attitudes today. The most powerful reason is that they provoked no response of encouragement from the broad range of government officials or white politicians. Secondly, the organizations were pressuregroups without electoral power or effective influence in parlia¬ ment. While we sat at the bottom end of town deliberating about equality and human dignity, parliament was still passing restric¬ tive laws like the Public Order Act which gave government the power to use troops in breaking strikes. After years of repression, we were looking for quick results and, instead, we continued to be humiliated by discriminatory practices. Thirdly, these groups were preaching to the converted, for it was the same circle of white liberals which came to most meetings. George Nyandoro soon decided that the white politicians were getting on with the business of entrenching their positions, while we wasted our time


Crisis in Rhodesia

in fruitless debates. As early as 1954, he denounced Moral Rearmament and the Inter-Racial Association as ‘cooling cham¬ bers’ and resigned. The Association continued to function until i960 when it died a slow death through declining membership under the chairmanship of Charles Mzingeli. A major blow to African hopes of racial co-operation came in 1954 when the motion to outlaw discrimination in public places, moved by Dauti Yamba from Northern Rhodesia, was rejected in the Federal Parliament. Welensky talked about economic pro¬ gress being the key to changing racial relations, and government spokesmen were for ever telling Africans ‘Don’t go too fast, otherwise you will have entirely the opposite reaction’. This smooth argument marked another line dividing the races. While the white parties had argued between themselves ever since 1930 about the pace Africans should be allowed to advance, we were objecting to their taking it on themselves to decide this at all. Even the limited advances which were made never had the favourable impact they might have deserved among Africans because the decisions were taken for them, not by them or even with them. Paternalists never seem to understand that, if one is not party to a decision, one has no real obligation nor apprecia¬ tion. But the decisive blow, the rock on which hopes foundered after this gentle five-year voyage, came when Todd was dismissed from the premiership in February 1958. It may be a surprise to anyone, who now thumbs back through the newspaper files of that time, that Africans put such faith in Garfield Todd. He had, after all, used troops to break the strike of African coalminers at Wankie in 1954; he deported Dunduzu Chisiza to Nyasaland in 1957 after Du had given new life to the Nyasaland African Congress branches here; and he tightened up security legislation. His particular form of vigorous and progressive paternalism was best reflected in the remark which Cyril Dunn of The Observer quotes in his book Central African Witness (Gollancz, 1959): ‘We are taking the African people by the scruff of the neck and saying “Come with us into the twentieth century”. But they will be glad they came!’ This image of the African people being lifted like a cat hardly sounded like partnership of any sort. Nevertheless, despite this rugged approach of Todd’s, many Africans still believed his government was in some sense theirs. He had gone into politics in the first place in 1946, after twelve

Tea-time Partners


years as a mission superintendent, to press for a vast increase in school places for Africans and when he became premier in 1954 he began laying the foundations of this in primary schools. He was credited with wanting to integrate Africans quickly into an industrial society on an equal basis. Perhaps more than these factors, his popularity among Africans and their faith in him stemmed from the way in which he never lost the contacts with educated Africans which he had built up as a missionary organiz¬ ing schools around the whole of Shabani district. After a visit he made to Ghana in 1957 he showed films of his travels to large audiences of Africans, and used to attend African political or religious meetings in the townships. At one of these meetings where an African speaker was attacking the premier and his alleged misdeeds, Todd stood up at the back and said: ‘Mr Chairman, I happen to know this man called Todd. He never did any of the things the speaker is enumerating. But I would defend the speaker’s right to continue.’ This brought a roar of laughter from the audience. I shall never forget the scene in the Presbyterian Hall in Salis¬ bury when Todd’s opponents finally fired every accusation they had at him at a special party congress in February 1958. His deputy premier Sir Patrick Fletcher and the rest of the Cabinet had resigned in January saying they had ‘lost confidence in Todd’s leadership’; and Todd had carried on by choosing new ministers from the small group still loyal to him in the parliamentary caucus. His chances of winning a vote of confidence from the party congress were greatly diminished because of the fusion of his URP with Welensky’s Federal Party the previous November; as a result, the congress was packed with federal delegates who had never been his supporters. Fletcher, a tired and cantankerous man whose thinking had been set since the old days when he was Minister of Native Affairs, tried to centre his attack on the charge that Todd had been dictatorial in Cabinet, but the truth came through his mass of accusations. He talked of Todd’s promises to Africans over land and schools, he objected to Todd meeting Nkomo who was then President of the African National Congress. He recalled how Todd had opposed an ‘immorality’ law amendment which sought to make a crime of any intercourse between the races. He attacked Todd for making a major speech about the franchise ‘to the InterRacial Association - of all places!’ While he complained that Todd


Crisis in 'Rhodesia,

had taken all the credit for progressive legislation, he swung his arguments round to add: ‘He has stirred up the natives to want more than they can be given.’ Todd in reply was magnificent. The political correspondent of The Rhodesia Herald, Peter Rea, who had not been conspicuously friendly to him, wrote afterwards that Todd was without doubt ‘the most brilliant speaker ... he answered his accusers in detail ... he slipped in jokes which won laughter every time, and moved from point to point with superb skill’. But this was not enough to save him. After more than twelve hours’ debate a ballot was taken, and Todd came top but without a majority because, as well as Fletcher, the name of Sir Edgar Whitehead had been added as candidate to lead the party. Whitehead was the Federal Minister in Washington, and his willingness to be a candidate ‘if it averts a split’ was only learnt by cable after the congress had opened. We cheered the result of this first ballot, while already fearing what the result of the second would be, when Fletcher’s name was struck off and his followers chose between Whitehead and Todd. And so it was, for Fletcher’s men all regrouped behind Whitehead, who had been out of active politics for four years and whose views were unknown on any of the national issues. Final result: Whitehead 193 votes, Todd 129. Welensky, who was sitting silently all day in the middle of the long top table behind a Union Jack, rose amid cheers and appealed for calm and unity in the high emotions of that midnight ballot. ‘Let the dust settle down,’ he said several times. The few African delegates in the hall could only see dust settling on their hopes. All that week, while passions raged about the coming congress and about Todd, the floodwaters of the Zambesi River had been rising - almost, it seemed, in some natural harmony with Rhodesian emotions. The newspapers gave as much space to the flood situation as they did to the political one, for the good reason that the building of the £100 million Kariba hydro-electric dam was being put in jeopardy. The waters had only a few feet to rise to inundate the great circular coffer-dam in the middle of the river, and so set back construction for weeks. Kariba was the chief pride of the Federation, almost its symbol: in a graceful sweep its high arched curve joins Southern Rhodesia with Northern Rhodesia, and someone called the dam ‘the wedding-ring of the Federation’. The battle to keep the floodwaters out of the coffer¬ dam continued through all the days when Todd fought and lost

Tea-time Partners


and Whitehead flew back from Washington to form a new Cabinet. But the following Sunday night the battle at Kariba ended in defeat, ironically because of a leak at the foot of the dam wall. ‘A catastrophe’, the experts called it. And this is what we called Todd’s defeat too. The years of hope for peaceful co-operation and swift progress towards racial equality - or, better, a non-racial state - were over. Whitehead might prove to be as liberal as Todd, who knew? But he had come to power on a wave of reaction, and Africans had lost faith in partnership. A sad, but perhaps a treasured, compliment was paid to Todd at that time when an African composed a song which became a best-selling record: ‘Todd wasichiya, Hamba kahle mudala’ . . . (Todd has left us, Go well, old man) . . . There was little more that we could say.


Enter City Youth League

The end of hopes for the voluntary evolution of a multi-racial society came with the electoral defeat of Todd, and the narrow defeat of the racist Dominion Party in 195 8 (the predecessor of the present governing Rhodesian Front). This was the end. The European body politic lay before our eyes, bare, and unmasked like a cold corpse - unfriendly, unco-operative, and unresponsive; in retrospect, we could see that the friendliness was only to lull us; the co-operation was conditional on the maintenance of white political domination and economic privilege; and response was only to marginal pin-pricks that did not cut the roots of white control in every sphere of the State. We had mistaken the tea-cup for the intention, the slogan for the policy, and the facial smile for the heart. Yet, in truth, all through the partnership years the intention of the European body politic had just been one: white supremacy in all fields, with or without African co-operation; white privilege shared with a handful of hand-picked Africans; a white society that exploits the bulk of the African body politic, as labourers, but excludes them from all forms of influence, or participation. It was, in effect, the same imperialism of Benjamin Disraeli; the colonialism of Lord Salisbury; and the baaskap of General Smuts and Dr Malan, couched in twentieth-century terms. Facts will emerge in succeeding chapters of this book to prove this. \ Although the end of hopes for multi-racial progress towards a peaceful solution came with Todd’s defeat, the movement forselfreliance among Africans in Southern Rhodesia began more than two years earlier. In the middle of 1955 Dunduzu Chisiza came one evening to my little cottage in Harare township, and sug¬ gested we form an All-African National Youth League. Dunduzu (shortened ‘Du’) was one of the most remarkable men I have

Enter City Youth Eeague


known in Central Africa, and had a mind of the most burning sincerity and directness. He came from Karonga, in northernmost Malawi, and had travelled widely - to school in Uganda and then far round the Congo as Swahili interpreter for an anthropologist. In 1955 he was working in Salisbury at the Indian High Com¬ mission, and he brought with him that evening a pamphlet on ‘Self-Determination’ which had recently been published in India. The pamphlet belonged to Nirmal Singh, the first Indian Com¬ missioner in Salisbury who was discriminated against as much as ourselves. He could not live in white suburbs, despite his high position as a diplomat. Nirmal knew where the black people should stand. ‘We are all the same black people,’ he told me. ‘This is the feeling we must create among the African people here,’ Du declared, thumping the table with his powerful fist and waving the pamphlet. Then he made me read the entire pamphlet aloud to him, and we stayed until past midnight discussing it. I had first met Du at meetings of the Baha’i Faith, the centuryold religion which a group of Americans had introduced to Salisbury that year. There was much in this religion to attract Africans, and indeed there are said to be 100,000 of its followers in East Africa alone. Its Persian prophet Baha’u’llah is claimed to be the combination of all previous revelations of God’s will through earlier prophets, and its religion cuts across all boundaries in pro¬ fessing the hope that before long the world will consist of only one race, one faith and one language. But Du, Edson Sithole and I clashed with the Baha’i Faith when we found its precepts said members should not take part in politics and should bind them¬ selves to obey the laws of their country. Their other-worldly approach is illustrated in a passage of a letter which a Northern Rhodesian African received from the Faith’s regional headquarters when he resigned for the same reason that had antagonized us: Africa in one generation could become an example to the world, if the African leaders could perfect their lives and show them¬ selves to be the well-wishers of all mankind, rather than falling into the pattern of dirty politics with an aim to enhancing their positions personally by stirring up hatreds and sedition, and when opportunity offers become the oppressors . . . The three of us were expelled from the Faith at varying times for not complying with the ‘no politics’ rule. I pondered Dunduzu’s plan to form a Youth League for many


Crisis in Rhodesia

days, but felt I could not join him at the time because I was com¬ mitted to journalism, and also to the URP. Du then concentrated on Edson, my room-mate. There were several weeks of meetings, and of drawing up aims and objects. James Chikerema came to our cottage, flanked by his large dog. Thirty years old at the time, Chikerema had been born near Salisbury of Shona parents, and his father was the first African teacher at Kutama Roman Catholic Mission. But he had been to school in South Africa and to university at Capetown, and entered politics down there when he organized a university protest against the coming of Federation. The police were on his trail after that and other political activities, and he coolly decided the best place to avoid their attentions was in the galleries of parliament. He had a lively return to Southern Rhodesia, for he lost his job as chief clerk in a factory after organizing a strike and, like many other educated Africans in this country who were heading towards nationalism, he took to selling insurance. He was, in fact, a natural ally of Dunduzu. The party, which was finally called the City Youth League, was launched in Harare one Sunday morning in August 1955. About 500 people crowded the Mayi Musodzi Hall, including grey¬ haired residents who weren’t deterred by the party’s name and understood with everyone else that this was clearly a nationalist movement for all people. Du could not be present, but an opening address written by him exhorted the Africans of Southern Rhodesia to raise their sights and fight for human dignity and freedom. Chikerema pushed this point further home. Forget the tea-drinking multi-racialists, he told the audience who showed surprise at this unusual language: ‘Do not hang on the backs of European organizations like babies. Rely now on yourselves!’ With clapping and cheering the meeting approved the formation of the City Youth League, and Chikerema was made its President. To show how unusual this language was to Southern Rhodesian ears at that time, and what a break the League was with the past, we must now go back some years. We should, in fact, go back all the way to the occupation of our country in 18 90 by the Pioneer Column of Rhodes’ men. The 1893 uprising may correctly be called a rebellion, as white historians have termed it; but the one in 1896 was fully a war. The two main tribal groups, the Mashona around Salisbury and the Matebele around Bulawayo, reacted over the next twenty-five years in different but parallel ways to their defeat. After the early years of

Enter City Youth Eeague


shock and despondency, Matebele resistance to white occupation took the form of wanting to resuscitate their kingdom as a separate state. They felt they had been robbed of their kingship in the driving out and killing of Lobengula. They sent a delegation to London in 1927 to petition King George for the restoration of their kingdom. (This reaction to white occupation had echoes elsewhere in Africa at that time, for instance in western Kenya.) The Rhodesian settlers replied by banishing Lobengula’s relatives to South Africa and Bechuanaland. One who remained had studied in Britain, but withdrew himself from the world, and spoke to nobody until his death in 1956. One sister who came up from Capetown for his funeral drew such a welcoming crowd at Bulawayo station that the government sent her back south a week earlier than she had planned. The Matebele Home Society sur¬ vived as a tribal society long after the trade unions had taken over the role of political pressure-groups, and it kept alive the image of Matebele kingship. The Morris Carter land commission in 1924 decided that what was best was the creation of Gwanda and Shangani districts as their homeland; their ‘Bantustan’, it might have been called. Mashona reaction also looked to the past for comfort, and took as tribal hero the tall, bearded prophet Chaminuka who had lived at Chitungwixa, twenty miles south of where Salisbury now is. Many legends are told of how, in the 1880s, Chaminuka warned his people of the approach of Matebele raiders, as well as excelling all as a rainmaker. When he finally tired of dodging the Matebele impis, and surrendered to them, he showed his supernatural powers in his encounter with Lobengula. Lobengula under¬ standably asked Chaminuka to transfer his powers to himself; when he refused this and all other requests, Lobengula ordered him to be killed. But three soldiers who tried to spear him had no effect, until Chaminuka summoned a young herdboy and ordered him to drive a spear into his side. Before he died, legend has it, he warned the Matebele of the coming of the white men (‘men without knees’), of the railway, and of Lobengula’s own death in exile. The Mashona have always honoured him as a great prophet and symbol of their tribe’s resistance. The legends took on extra significance, though, after the formation of the City Youth League, when George Nyandoro particularly dwelt upon his memory in speeches as a binding factor in resisting the settlers. The government itself helped unconsciously in this campaign, for


Crisis in Rhodesia

its Literature Bureau reprinted a poem about the prophet in a book Feso, written by Solomon Mutswairo, which was dis¬ tributed to schools; apparently the Bureau thought the poem was about a village girl! Today, in looking for a hero of the past to symbolize their resistance, the Mashona and Matebele have agreed to honour their own figures, Chaminuka and Lobengula. The first groups to express themselves in anything like modern terms were formed in 1920: the Rhodesian Bantu Voters’ Association in Bulawayo, organized by a storekeeper called Dube, and the Rhodesian Native Association in Mashonaland. The Voters’ Association worked closely with the Union Bantu Vigilance Association of South Africa, and expressed a deep desire for justice in strong Christian terms. The aims and objects of its constitution may be worth quoting in full to show the stage of African political thought before the post-Federation revolt dis¬ cussed later in this book. It read as follows: Rhodesian Bantu Voters’ Association (Associated with Union Bantu Vigilance Association) formed 1920. Aims a. To safeguard the interest of the Bantu people domiciled in Southern Rhodesia. b. To be the medium of expression of representative opinion, and to formulate a standard policy on Native Affairs for the guidance of Parliament. c. To endeavour to secure co-operation with the powers that be and all others interested in the advancement of the Bantu peoples without laying an embargo on their way. The Rhodesian Bantu Voters’ Association is a constructive and co-operative society, founded by persons, desiring to work for the general uplift of the Bantus irrespective of tribe and status. We pledge ourselves to conserve the rights of our people and do all in our power to develop their dormant potentialities by means of practical education and industry. The motto of the Organization is: Honour all men. Love the Brotherhood, Fear God. Honour the King. We believe that justice must be done to our people and their legitimate rights respected; we believe that only by means of industrial education, a test of Christianity our people will rise gradually in the scale of civilization and that religion must be fostered to grow as the true foundation of a man’s character.

Enter City Youth League


Work shall be effected by constitutional resolutions and peaceful propaganda, and by consulting the Native Affairs De¬ partment, MPs and Missionaries. It was, in fact, a mild constitution, written by an obedient group of educated men. And their influence could never have become broadly based, for there were only 419 African voters in 1950, thirty years after the Association was formed. The Rhodesian Native Association concentrated on the villagers and farmers of Mashonaland - its first guiding spirit was Z. A. Chirimuuta of Seke reserve. It also announced its aim to honour the King and ‘express the cries of the Native people before the government’; more important was its hope that it could ‘train and educate the chiefs of the colony’. With collateral succession as the rule in Mashonaland, the chiefs have always tended to be old and therefore particularly conservative in mind; and the Association saw the need to modernize the chieftainship. In 1934 Aaron Jacha formed the first African National Congress in Southern Rhodesia, and concentrated for membership on the unfranchised townsman. It was, however, never as effective as the trade unions in gathering support in the cities, and faded away for years until the post-war leap in African aspirations brought it again to fife in other hands. The common factors between these three early associations are clear to see: they were patterned on organizations in South Africa, for the good reason that most educated Africans in our country had gone south for secondary schooling and university, and others with enterprise would also go south to find jobs in the big towns there. And secondly, their constitutions all emphasized co-operation with the government. It is hard to know whether they did this to ensure registration, or whether this was their freely expressed view without any further pressure being applied. Probably the second is true, and that their hopes rose no higher than wanting to be governed well by the Europeans. Certainly the Chief Native Commissioner detected no bite in their approach: in 1920 he described the Native Association as ‘a reputable organization not associated with those organiza¬ tions of South Africa, wanting Africa for the Africans’. And the Association fed this view when they asked for representation at the talks with General Smuts about possible union between South Africa and Southern Rhodesia: it asked for someone with African interests at heart, meaning presumably a European whom they


Crisis in Rhodesia

could trust. (They were informed the administrator himself was going, and it was well known he had native interests at heart.) The first appeal to the masses rose from trade union leaders, centred mostly in Bulawayo and Salisbury. Again the inspiration came from South Africa, with the forerunner Clemens Kadali having made his mark in the south. Kadali came from that small tribe of remarkable initiative, the Tonga in Malawi’s Nkata Bay. In his heyday he concentrated attacks on missionaries and native (or district) commissioners. The argument of the union leaders was that the missionaries softened the people into acquiescence to settler government. Kadali once said: ‘Their greatest sin is that they lift the eyes of the African people from the things of this world to the things above, of which they have no certainty.’ In Rhodesia, an ICU branch was first formed in Bulawayo. Later it was superseded by the Reformed Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union. The RICU was the first African mass movement between the two world wars. It brought to the fore leaders like Masocha Ndlovu, Charles Mzingeli and Sigeca. Masocha attacked the Church for asking people to close their eyes and pray to God, while the Europeans were opening their eyes to take African land. Mzingeli publicly complained that priests were telling their con¬ gregations to have nothing to do with the RICU; in reprisal he was denied communion by the Roman Catholic Church in Harare township. The trade union movement had in those days close links with the Communist Party of South Africa, and used to distribute at meetings copies of the South African Worker, a Communist-financed paper. Mzingeli himself held May Day parades for years, lasting until 1957 when his power was finally eclipsed by the City Youth League. To give some idea of the courage these men required to challenge authority in this way, let me recall my first visit to a District Commissioner’s office and the torture it was. I was fifteen and needed my first registration certificate. My late father and I went to Marandellas on his bicycle. When we turned the corner of the road and saw the huge Native Department office in front of us, my father alighted from his bicycle. As we entered the yard, he removed his hat, ordering me to take my hand out of my pocket, and not make any noise whatever as we might disturb or anger the ‘Inkosi’ (Lord) in the office. We spoke to the African Head Messenger who knew my father, and after a few words of greeting we were told to sit down. Two hours later the Head

Enter City Youth Eeague


Messenger told my father he had informed the Court Interpreter, Mr Tutani, of our presence. It was considered a great favour that word had been sent so quickly. It was not unusual to sit outside that office for four days before being attended to. The Head Messenger told my father proudly that, as an Evangelist Preacher of the Methodist Church he knew he had a lot of pastoral work to do, and he would therefore be attended to as early as possible. In the afternoon we were ushered into the office of the Assistant District Commissioner, who ignored my father’s greeting and continued to drink his tea. He dialled two telephone numbers one to a friend, another on business - before lifting his head to ask through an interpreter: ‘Inodeyiko pano?’ (meaning ‘What does It want here?’). My father could speak English, but this was not allowed. In the DC’s office, an African was - and still is - described as ‘It’. ‘Nkosi ndine mwana wangu anoda chitupa’ (I have a son who wants a registration certificate), my father said in a trembling voice. I had never seen him so frightened. After a few routine questions, the verdict came: ‘Ngayiende kunowona Moses’ (It should now see Mr Tutani). Although Mr Tutani was an ageing man who had served govern¬ ment twice the length of time the young ADC had, he was referred to by his first name. Perhaps he was lucky not to be called It, as we were. For our part, we all addressed this young bachelor as Nkosi, or Ngosana (Junior Lord) since he was assistant to the DC. It was in this stifling atmosphere that men like Masocha were undaunted enough to say (as he did in 1930) that it was shocking that African policemen were expected ‘to patrol the lanes in their bare feet’ and to add that, in redress of grievances, the people ‘should not wait 2,000 years’. Charles L. Mzingeli was the outstanding leader produced by the RICU. Born and bred near Plumtree, he did not go to school until he was fifteen. He was educated in a Mission School at Empandeni where he embraced the Roman Catholic faith. After primary education he went to work in South Africa where he came under the influence of Kadali. He returned to Bulawayo to start a branch of the ICU. He later transformed it into RICU and settled in Salisbury in 1929. For many years he was to be the focal point for grievances of urban workers, and even rural tribesmen. He was regarded by government as a ‘dangerous Communist’. In April 1930 when the Superintendent of Natives in Salisbury wanted him


Crisis in Rhodesia

arrested for a seemingly subversive speech (but also to get him out of the way) he was relieved to learn from the Member-inCharge of the Police Force that Mzingeli was already being prosecuted for an offence in Mrewa. The Member-in-Charge told the Superintendent that Mzingeli was unlikely to escape convic¬ tion at Mrewa. He was in fact convicted and jailed. The Mrewa conviction was important in another more impor¬ tant sense. Here was a man born and bred in Matebeleland (home of one of the only two tribes of Rhodesia - Matebeles and Mashonas), being convicted for waging an anti-white struggle in the heart of Mashonaland, in the midst of a totally different tribe. The RICU spared no efforts to try and remove tribalism from all aspects of African life. Its executive deliberately posted a Matebele organizer in Mashonaland, and a Mashona one in Matebeleland with this end in view. In fact, the successful attempt to break down tribalism remains as the only monumental achievement of the RICU in the history of African nationalism. The fortunate lack of a tribal rift in modern political organizations can be attributed to the foundation work of the RICU. In 1930 Masocha and Job Dumbujena went to the extent of asking the police to remove all hooligans from the townships of Bulawayo before Christmas in an attempt to avoid the ugly inter-tribal fighting that had taken place on Christmas Day in 1929. In later years, RICU activities were concentrated in the segregated, unsanitary African townships in urban areas. It fought issues like night raids on residents by municipal police, the fact that African policemen were not supplied with shoes, that housing was inadequate, as were lights and water, etc. It had limited success in this field, and dominated the activities of the civic urban bodies until the emergence of the Youth League. Mzingeli himself, who used to destroy other African leaders by denouncing them at public meetings, was given a dose of his own medicine. In 1956, after several Youth League meetings at Harare’s Chaminuka Square at which he was denounced and accused of cowardice and being a multi-racialist and tea-drinker, Mzingeli was finally eclipsed. He later surprised all his former followers by leading the Inter-Racial Association, and joined the governing United Federal Party to work with men he had fought against for so many years. He was to play an important part in the 1961 Constitutional Conference as a member of the government delegation. It was he who was given the task of introducing the

Enter City Youth League


A and B roll franchise proposal, which had been designed and worked out by Dr M. I. Hirsch. Another fearless figure came to the fore in the late 1930s: Chief Nyandoro, uncle of George. Soon after he became chief in Chiota reserve, he proved himself an embarrassment to the government through his habit of openly opposing the native commissioners. I remember as a boy of thirteen going to a meeting at Samuriwo school, where the NC was telling the crowd to destock and cull their cattle. As soon as he had finished, Nyandoro stood up and asked: ‘How is it that a native commissioner, who is supposed to look after the interests of his people, is allowing destocking of cattle, for they are the Africans’ only bank?’ The native commissioner ordered him to sit down and muttered other uncomplimentary things. Chief Nyandoro remained stand¬ ing and said in Shona: ‘Where has this young child with milk on his nose come from, to come and defy me in the land of my forefathers ?’ These words were of course considered sacrilege by the Native Affairs Department, but they were afraid to depose him for a time because he had a large following. He had won popularity by fight¬ ing against passes and other restrictions. The officials hoped instead to reform him. But he fought to the inevitable end. This came after the Governor, Sir Evelyn Baring, had paid a visit to Waddilove school and spoke to several chiefs at a sports meeting. Sir Evelyn began by asking one chief, Nengubo, what he wanted most in the reserves and got the reply: ‘Beds for the chiefs’. When the same question was asked of Chief Nyandoro, a different reply came back: ‘For the government to stop destocking’. Baring, being a go-ahead man, followed up this request by asking ques¬ tions of the Native Affairs Department, and the officials decided Nyandoro had gone too far. The NC at that time was a Mr Meredith, who came to pride himself on the nickname ‘One who climbs the peak of the mountain’, meaning he was the one who deposes the difficult chiefs of whom others were afraid. (He also deposed Mangwende in 1956.) One day Meredith called all the chiefs of the area to Mahusekwa township in Chiota reserve and in a private room introduced them to the Chief Native Com¬ missioner and told them Nyandoro had been deposed. In front of them he removed the red gown and badge of office from Nyan¬ doro, and sent them out of the building to the crowd. It was a hushed, sad crowd which watched the six chiefs file past, Nyan-


Crisis in Rhodesia

doro among them without his gown. There was no strong reaction to the deposition, however, for there was no political organization through which to express the people’s deep anger. As in many other African countries, the ending of the world war in 1945 added militancy to the protest organizations in Southern Rhodesia. There was frustration among African ex-servicemen that they were not being treated like the whites whom they had fought alongside in Burma. The Africans were given small gratuities and a chance to buy a Native Purchase Area farm with the money; the whites were given farms on the easiest of terms as well as their gratuities. Later the Italians and Germans against whom we had fought for Britain were given preferential treatment in Rhodesia. An ex-servicemen’s society based on Harare survived for many years, a group made bitter by the lack of government gratitude, but again it was not linked with a political organization to make its feelings fully known. The general mood of militancy, of saying ‘We deserve better than this’, spread among the workers in all the main towns, however. Sigeca, who was a railway-worker, and others organized in 1945 the first effective strike there had been on Rhodesia Railways, demanding higher wages and better working and living conditions for railwaymen. By stages it spread from railway headquarters in Bulawayo up through Gwelo and Salis¬ bury to Umtali where it was most effective. The strikers gained not only a wage award, but the first recognition of the African Railway Workers Union through the passing of the Railway Act. In that same year, the African National Congress was revived under the presidency of the late Reverend Thompson Samkange. This revival was in part at least because of a racial split in the Southern Rhodesian Missionary Conference, which in its early days spoke up strongly for African interests against discriminatory laws but during wartime began to veer towards support of the Establishment. The Rev Samkange was elected president of the African section of the SRMC, when the split had reached the point of having separate racial Missionary Conferences; but he abhorred the idea of the racial split, and his section also took issue with the white missionaries over the tightening up of the Land Apportionment Act in 1941. So he moved away to revive the ANC with the support of young educated men like Enoch Dumbutshena. In 1948 the first general strike broke out. The ANC held a

Enter City Youth League


meeting in Gwelo to decide whether to put itself at the head of the men about to strike, and came to no decision. Before they could meet again, workers swept into the Bulawayo streets with banners ‘No Work until More Money’. Salisbury workers were out on strike within forty-eight hours, and domestic servants joined in for the only time in Rhodesian history. There was wide discontent with low wages, overcrowding and lack of sanitation in town¬ ships, as well as a growing group of urban unemployed who swelled the crowds. The strike led to the appointment of the Tredgold Committee, which recommended the establishment of the first Native Labour Boards, so giving African workers out¬ side the railways their first representation, however inadequate it was. The ANC leaders were active in negotiating with government over the general strike, once it was under way. But the main negotiator in Bulawayo was that remarkable figure Benjamin Burombo, who ran his own organization, the British African Voice Association. Burombo was a huge man - six foot six inches tall and weighing 250 lbs - who never had a formal education, but came to Bulawayo from his Buhera birthplace in the early years of the war and began selling biscuits in the railway compound. He taught himself a good deal of reading and some law, and was usually to be found carrying round a pile of papers and law-books; he was clever enough to get a lot of advice from the Bulawayo Justice H. E. Davies who later became a Federal MP sitting for African interests. He was a key witness before the Tredgold Committee after the 1948 strike, a strike he had done his utmost to nurture - for when Sir Hugh Beadle, the Justice Minister, gave him a public-address van to tour the city and tell the strikers to return to work, he used the equipment to broadcast the message to workers ‘Stay away!’ Burombo was a fearless, and a tireless, worker for his fellow Africans. When destocking of cattle was stepped up by govern¬ ment after 1944 in an attempt to reduce numbers by half, he went into many rural areas to help tribesmen oppose this measure. To the simple villager, cattle were his wealth, his means of livelihood, his bank account and his insurance for old age. Reduction of this asset hit him hard, and no arguments about improvement of his stock carried much weight. Burombo busied himself particularly with collecting evidence against the proposed Native Land Husbandry Act when this plan for demarcating land and ending


Crisis in Rhodesia

communal rights of those who weren’t at that time cultivating land was still at the stage of a parliamentary committee. Later when the Act was passed in 1951, with all his law books around him he successfully challenged the irregular actions of several native commissioners in implementing this Act. He was a one-man protest organization, but his example inspired young leaders of Congress in 1958 to take many other cases to court from rural areas, and the campaign against the Land Husbandry Act then reached its peak. He also did his best to break down the African feeling of inferiority: ‘Africans shouldn’t run away from the road when they see cars,’ he once said in Gwelo. ‘The cars were really the Africans’ own cars - bought from the toil of Africans - and why should they run away from their own money?’ Burombo, with his great weight, was never very healthy and he died from a tumour. But he left behind an inspiration for many young nationalists. Even though the settlers had made Federation a burning issue with their conference at Victoria Falls in 1949, the African National Congress was in one of its periods of decline. Its in¬ activity was due to personal quarrels among the top office-holders. But in 1951 fresh life was breathed into it by Harry Nkumbula, the leader of its counterpart in Northern Rhodesia. On his initiative a conference was called at Fort Jameson of African leaders from all three countries in Central Africa, in the hope of combining in opposition to Federation. Stanlake Samkange, then the ANC secretary-general and son of the Reverend Samkange, went to this conference where it was planned to set up an AllAfrican Convention. He came back to persuade all the different Southern Rhodesian groups to merge in the Convention: Enoch Dumbutshena and himself from the ANC; Joshua Nkomo, who had begun as a social worker with the railways and was first general secretary of the Railway African Workers Union and then president of the TUC; and Charles Mzingeli of the Reformed Industrial and Commercial Workers Union. Mzingeli, running all his affairs out of his grocer’s shop at Maggott’s Plot, was the unofficial mayor of Harare, and was chosen as interim chairman of the All-African Convention, because of his long experience and stubborn battling for the interests of his people. Throughout the negotiations between the settlers and Britain which ended with Federation being established in October 1953, the Africans in Southern Rhodesia were in two minds on the issue.

Enter City Youth Eeague


Although the reason for the Convention’s existence was to fight the idea in company with the groups in the northern territories, Nkomo accepted an invitation from the Prime Minister, Sir Godfrey Huggins (later Lord Malvern), to go to the London talks on Federation in 1952. Jasper Savanhu, then editor-in-chief of African Newspapers, went too. This angered several Convention leaders and a telegram signed by Mzingeli and others was sent to London saying that Nkomo and Savanhu were not representative of African opinion. Nkomo came back from London denouncing the proposals, while Savanhu supported them. On the wave of his denunciation, Nkomo was elected president of the Convention at the end of 1952; but its life ended soon, for by September it was certain that the battle against Federation was lost. Nkomo and Samkange joined in the fight for the two African federal seats reserved for Southern Rhodesia, but the two journalists Savanhu and Hove who had the official blessing of Huggins were elected by the overwhelmingly white electorate. Africans in Southern Rhodesia settled down to hoping that Federation would bring them release from discrimination. By the time the City Youth League was launched in August 1955, only Mzingeli was still active - a sort of one-man protest organization who attracted young nationalists to work with him for brief periods. The Bulawayo branch of the ANC kept going after Federation, but mostly as a social organization running concerts. Jason Moyo and Joseph Msika used to make speeches at these concerts, but they were not of great political consequence. Moyo was a skilled carpenter and builder, so good that he was able to compete with European builders on the same rates for jobs on the outskirts of Bulawayo; Msika had gone to school in Bulawayo and ran a grocer’s shop. Nkomo had opened an auctioneer business. Everyone else was rushing to join multi-racial organizations, imbued with the new spirit of partnership and believing it would change their whole lives and bring equality. Before Federation, there had never been any idea of such a thing as equality; so that, although the equality likely after Federation was heavily qualified even in theory, nobody paid any notice to the qualifications: they were ready to grab anything. The preamble to the federal constitution, a non-racial federal civil service, a common federal voters’ roll, six Africans in the Federal Parlia¬ ment : these were all wonderful novelties, and it did not enter into the heads of many Southern Rhodesian Africans that, at any rate.

Crisis in Rhodesia

their two African MPs were there only on white votes. The people in the northern territories were wiser, and knew that a limited equality was in many respects as bad as no equality at all. This chapter should by now have given the reader some idea of the huge task faced by the leaders of the City Youth League in instilling a new, and far more militant, spirit into the Africans of Southern Rhodesia. The attitude of protest had been there for years; there had been moments of defiance, sometimes sustained defiance; but each time people had lapsed back into acquiescence to the settler regime, and an acceptance that we were a conquered people who lifted our hats to any European who drove past us on a country lane. Dunduzu Chisiza, who believed the Federation could not effectively be challenged until Africans in all three territories were actively opposing their governments and the Federal Government, saw the establishment of the City Youth League in this wider context: if the CYL could become strong, the federal forces would be so extended that there was hope of a successful movement to break the Federation. It was for the sake of his native Nyasaland, as well as for Southern Rhodesian Africans, that he worked hard to get the CYL launched. Once it was launched, the CYL made its first objective the breaking of Mzingeli’s power. This may seem strange, since Mzingeli was the one consistently active African leader. Fie had then taken George Nyandoro as his general secretary. He had handled the authorities roughly, challenging them from time to time: he organized a boycott against a bakery which practised discrimination and another against the payment of rents until the administration stopped its practice of raiding township houses at night to catch ‘illegal’ visitors. But he always emphasized that his methods were based on dealing with the administration and get¬ ting them to set matters right. The CYL argued that even talking with officials of the Salisbury city council was a recognition of the officials’ superior position; they thought it was better to have no dealings with authority on such terms at all. Du provided the brains for this new line of policy, and Chikerema and Nyandoro (who soon left Mzingeli after he saw what the CYL intended) provided the essential knowledge about the people of Salisbury. Perhaps most importantly, the CYL grew as a common-man movement; it rose from the people, rather than starting with the recognized leaders of former times. The stories I have told about Chief Nyandoro give some idea

Enter City Youth 'League


of what sort of man his nephew was likely to be. His grandfather had been killed while helping to lead the Mashona people in the 1896 war. The flames of resistance have always burned strongly in George. He had only seven years’ formal schooling at St Mary’s Anglican mission school near Salisbury, but taught himself book¬ keeping and some law by correspondence. He joined the Rhodesia Native Association in 1951 because it was campaigning hard against the Land Husbandry Act - it had hired Hardwicke Holderness to advise them on the best legal grounds for opposition. And he remained treasurer of Mzingeli’s RICU right up to the forma¬ tion of the City Youth League. He had flirted with the Inter-Racial Association for a few months, and he had grown disillusioned with Mzingeli’s methods and values. By the time he joined Chikerema in the CYL he had, at the age of twenty-nine, a great deal of experience of organization and methods behind him, matching the determination he had inherited from his remarkable family. The struggle with Mzingeli was a battle between two sets of values. Mzingeli had complained about night raids on lodgers, poor township lighting, ungraded roads, the pass system and other regulations; he had championed the cause of old homeless people. But the CYL leaders challenged the fundamental laws which created the officials and the parliament, to whom Mzingeli had been content to complain. They said the Native Affairs Department was ‘a government within a government’ and the municipal departments of African administration were run by racialists. The new leaders were leading Southern Rhodesia into the modern Africa of self-determination, self-rule and inde¬ pendence. To defeat Mzingeli, the CYL began as a civic organization which was primarily concerned with matters of Harare and Highfield townships. When they fought his dominance there, the team of Chikerema and Nyandoro, backed up by Edson Sithole, Henry Hamadziripi and Thomson Gonese never hesitated to shout down their opponents at public meetings, to discredit Mzingeli’s reputed strength. Soon they were able to sweep the elections for the Harare Advisory Board, of which Mzingeli had been unchallenged leader for ten years. After this early victory in the townships, the CYL moved into the national field in the hope of consolidating all the groups in one national movement. This they achieved when with a revitalized


Crisis in Rhodesia

Bulawayo branch of the old ANC, they re-launched the ANC in September 1957. A first step in their national campaign was to challenge the superiority of the officials at its most effective, most arrogant point. The District- Commissioner in a rural area, by his isolation and his influence through the Native Affairs Department, had become a law unto himself. He acted as civil servant, law-maker and magistrate all at the same time. People whom he prosecuted for failing to obey his orders in his District came to his own court, where he pronounced judgement. In their omnipotence the District Commissioners often over¬ stepped the bounds of the laws of the country. For instance, if the Native Land Husbandry Act gave them authority to issue grazing or arable rights to African peasant farmers, it did not entitle them to plough under crops that had already been planted in what they considered the wrong plot, as happened in Weya reserve and in Mount Darwin district. The Youth Leaguers swiftly saw the discrepancies in the law and its application in the reserves. They responded to the many delegations of tribesmen who began to flow into their small offices in Railway Avenue in Salisbury. In the Weya case they took it to the point of summoning Sir Edgar Whitehead, who had become premier by then, to appear in court on a charge of destroying tribesmen’s crops. They quickly became skilful at ridiculing Native Commis¬ sioners. When they arrived at the Native Commissioner’s office, they stopped their car next to his, and walked straight into his office through the main door as white farmers did, ignoring the Head Messenger and the Court Interpreter who were the normal channel for Africans. They only removed their hats as normal courtesy when they entered his room. There too they spoke in English directly to the NC, and sat on chairs. Some Native Com¬ missioners were so horrified by this behaviour that they walked out of the office, refusing to speak to the Youth Leaguers. In so doing they increased the impact which the Youth Leaguers had made on the watching, and often astonished, African public. ‘They spoke so well that he even left the office,’ word was passed round. Debasing of the Native Commissioner was an important part of the programme of the CYL, and even more later of the ANC, because nobody could have made any headway in organizing rural Africans or even bringing a sense of human dignity until the NC’s

Enter City Youth League


artificial position of Lord-and-Master had been destroyed. The NC was necessarily the first target in a wider programme to show Africans that Europeans were not superior beings. But the CYL’s greatest achievement was an urban one: the bus boycott of August 1956. One Sunday morning the Youth League held a public meeting in Chaminuka Square in Harare to consider what action could be taken about the raising of bus-fares by threepence, which the companies had proposed with government approval. Instead of following old patterns, which would have involved sending a delegation armed with a memorandum of protest to some government office, they called a boycott of the buses, to start on Monday. For the next three days, the buses were empty going to and coming from town, some four miles away from most Harare homes. For the first time, people saw that effective retaliatory action could be taken by Africans against an unpopular measure. It was in a true sense a landmark in the history of African organizations in Southern Rhodesia. Burning of food stalls, wrecking of bus-shelters, looting, stoning, widespread rioting and even raping followed. Girls in Carter House, the only modern girls’ hostel in Harare, were raped - and immediately there was an outcry from Europeans that this was utter barbarism and the wanton desire of strikers and rioters to victimize these girls. It was in fact calculated revenge by strikers for the way in which the girls had defied the strike orders and boarded buses. One girl was heard saying she had enough money to pay the extra threepence; she would not obey the strike orders from poor men. If I seem to labour over this point, it is because many Europeans deliberately misinterpret the reasons for some of the ugly incidents which occur whenever there is a riot. To others the incidents may seem inexplicable, but there is always some reason like the one I have outlined behind the incident. The following month, Garfield Todd the Prime Minister appointed a commission to investigate the reason behind the rioting. The Commission upheld the bus companies’ decision to raise their fares; but recommended that government subsidize every ticket bought on working days. In effect, the African bususer was called on to pay less than the fare first proposed. This was a first real victory for the Youth League, and established it as a fearless and effective force. It opened the eyes of Africans to the powers they could have if they only organized themselves


Crisis in Rhodesia

properly. They saw a new source of power, which had lain in their own hands for years before they knew it. In 1956-7 there was a growing amount of talk about new franchises. As far back as August 1954 Todd had spoken of appointing a Royal Commission on the Southern Rhodesia franchise, but the Tredgold Commission didn’t start work until January 1957. In March 1956 new elections for the Nyasaland Legislative Council brought in two young radicals, Masauko Chipembere and Kanyama Chiume, who set about challenging the colonial set-up and Federation from the day they took their seats. There were the beginnings of plans for amending the federal electoral act, and enlarging the Federal Assembly. There had been the Capricorn Convention at Salima, with a good deal of con¬ centration on voting rights (or, as they decided, voting privileges). It was natural, both because of all this interest in other quarters and also because the CYL was challenging the very foundations of settler government, that African organizations made their ideas known in forceful language. The Bulawayo branch of the old ANC came out strongly calling for nothing less than adult suffrage. By mid-1957 the City Youth League, through the energy of its young leaders backed by their hard-hitting paper Chapupu (Witness), had consolidated a good deal of strength. The stage had come to form a really national organization, to link up Bulawayo with Salisbury and effectively draw in the rural areas. After weeks of talks, the plan was made and the date chosen with care. As a symbolic act of challenging the settlers, the leaders picked on September 12th as the day for launching the renovated African National Congress in Harare. For September 12th is the prime festival of settler-ism, when those Pioneers who still survive in their dotage gather in Salisbury with many younger white immigrants and hold a ceremony in front of the flag-pole in Cecil Square where Rhodes’ men first raised a Union Jack in 1890. This festival they called (until after the ANC had ridiculed it) Occupa¬ tion Day. So the ANC squarely faced the settlers, and chose Occupation Day 1957 as the date from which to start the really active phase of reversing the whole process of occupation and demoralization of our people.


Congress Spreads like Wild Fire

While the last Pioneers and other white immigrants were standing in Cecil Square, singing ‘God Save The Queen’ and eyeing the Union Jack which had flown there for sixty-seven years, Africans were celebrating Occupation Day slightly differently. Around a small hall in Harare a crowd marched singing another song ‘Ishe Komborera Africa’ (God Bless Africa), the African national anthem composed in South Africa by a Xhosa nationalist, and first sung at the inauguration of the South African National Congress in Bloemfontein in 1912. The song is now accepted as far north as Tanzania as a national anthem. Into the murky, small hall we crowded to launch the new African National Con¬ gress by merging the City Youth League with the Bulawayo ANC branch. Dauti Yamba, then Federal MP from Zambia, opened the Congress with a fighting speech calling for a joint approach to constitutional issues by the Congresses of the three Central African territories; they should plan, he said, to send a delegation to London to put African views on reform of the federal and ter¬ ritorial constitutions. Most of the speeches that followed were moderate, particularly that of Joshua Nkomo, who called for ‘a society of equals’ in Southern Rhodesia. Guy Clutton-Brock, once a probation officer in the London slums who had set up a com¬ munal farm near Rusape, was the only European speaker. The Congress was launched with acclamation for its principles; Nkomo was made president, with Chikerema his vice-president and Nyandoro the secretary-general. It had been expected that Chikerema, as president of the success¬ ful City Youth League, would be chosen as president of the new organization. But by a last-minute decision the older and less militant man was preferred. Nkomo, born in 1917, was only eight


Crisis in Rhodesia

years older than Chikerema but his large and dignified figure seems to add to his age and prestige. What really decided the choice, though, was the fact that Nkomo could bring the support of the Matebele people while Chikerema and Nyandoro would draw in the Mashona. For Nkomo was brought up in the Matopo district beyond Bulawayo and, after schooling at Adams College, Natal, and the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work in Johannes¬ burg, came back to Bulawayo as a social welfare worker on the railways. He had shown his skill at organization, too: by 1952 he had built up the Railway African Employees’ Association into one of the most powerful African organizations in the country with twenty-two branches under him as general secretary. On top of this, he had worked hard in his spare time, and taken an external degree in social science from the University of South Africa. With his way of bursting into broad laughter, mixing shrewdness with serenity, he was known for his skill at mediating and holding together contending forces. For all these qualities, he was drought die best man for die new Congress leadership; his flirdng with Moral Rearmament, and the way he had accepted Huggins’ invitadon to the Federation talks in London and later had con¬ tested a federal assembly seat - if diese blots on his career were remembered, tiiey were explained away as reflecting the stages of attitude-forming which many odier Africans in Southern Rhodesia had also passed tiirough. Nkomo’s phrase - ‘a society of equals’ - characterized the attitude of die ANC. Let me quote from its first statement of ‘Principles, Policy and Programme’: Its aim is the national unity of all the inhabitants of the country in true partnership, regardless of race, colour or creed. It stands for a completely integrated society; equality of opportunity in even- sphere; and the social, economic and political advancement of all. It regards these objectives as the essential foundation of that partnership between people of all races, without which there can be no peaceful progress in this country. Congress affirms complete loyalty to the Crown as the symbol of national unity ... It is not a racial movement. It is equally opposed to tribalism and racialism. It welcomes as members all of any race who are in sympathy with its aims, and are prepared to fulfil the conditions of membership. It believes the J

Congress Spreads like Wild Fire


country can only advance through non-racial thinking and acting, and that an integrated society provides the only alter¬ native to tribalism and racialism. Launched in September 1957, when Garfield Todd was still unchallenged as premier, there was reasonable hope behind this talk of ‘true partnership’. When it was banned in February 1959, the hopes had faded almost out of sight. Todd had been replaced by Whitehead, whose failure to win a by-election and become premier inside (rather than just outside) parliament had pre¬ cipitated a general election. At that general election in June 1958, Todd’s reformed URP had been annihilated and the right-wing Dominion Party won a majority of the white electorate’s votes, and only failed to take over government because the ‘transferable vote’ system just saved Whitehead’s middle-of-the-road party. Dr Banda had come back to Nyasaland to get a new constitution for his country and to break ‘the stupid Federation’: but Governor Armitage had delayed the Nyasaland constitutional talks for months, and impatience was at bursting point. In Zambia there had been a split in the ANC, with Kenneth Kaunda leading the young reformists away from Flarry Nkumbula, who had become easy-going, to form the Zambia ANC; a new constitution was being introduced there but it was still strides away from majority rule and Kaunda’s party boycotted registration while Nkumbula’s party eventually decided to get what advantage there was in winning some seats. In the federal sphere, there had been several retrograde steps: the Constitutional Amendment Bill increased the assembly membership from thirty-five to fifty-nine, and doubled African membership from six to twelve. But for the four of the eight new African members in the northern territories, as well as for the four members from Southern Rhodesia, an electoral act laid down the whole electorate should vote for them: this meant, in effect, that they were all European nominees. (The original four Africans from Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland continued to be chosen by the Protectorate Councils, composed only of African traditional groups.) The African Affairs Board, the federal standing committee which was supposed to be the watchdog of African interests, had protested against these moves to the point of ‘reserving it for the Queen’s pleasure’, which allowed the British House of Commons to discuss the legislation. But the Tories, with Lord Home then as Commonwealth Rela-


Crisis in Rhodesia

tions Secretary, turned down the plea of Sir John Moffat’s board; and this watchdog was found to have no teeth at all. On top of all this, Welensky had held a federal general election in November 1958 and won it handsomely on the slogan of ‘Dominion Status in i960’: i960 was the earliest date under the constitution when there could be a federal review, and Welensky believed he could obtain independence for the Federation from Britain then. If he had gained independence for his settler government then, the whole of Central Africa would have been under white domination. These were dark days for the African peoples. But the ANC leaders saw themselves making progress fast at the level of Southern Rhodesia. The example of Burombo was remembered, that there was great scope for winning wide support in rural areas where the Land Husbandry Act was unpopular. Chikerema and Nyandoro went even further than Burombo, who had challenged the Native Commissioners and shown the people that these men were not semi-gods. They emphasised in rural meetings that the NCs were mere civil servants - that is, servants of the Africans and not their masters. The Chief Native Commissioner, Mr S. E. Morris, was touched on the raw by this lowering of the prestige of his officials. As much as anyone, he persuaded Whitehead to ban the ANC and to tighten legislation to protect these officials from ridicule. Morris’ father had been a native commissioner all his life; and he had followed in his father’s footsteps to ‘help’ the African people. One day he told me angrily: ‘I ask the government to help starving Africans with food. I help them with ambulances in remote areas. I am making representations to get them more land. Why should these evil men in the ANC stir up these poor, peaceful people into ridiculing the commissioners who are sent there to help them?’ In his own way. Sir Edgar Whitehead admitted the effective¬ ness of the ANC when he broadcast his reasons for banning the party and arresting the leaders. He spoke of ‘the growing tendency of the movement to incite people in rural as well as urban areas to defy the law’. And while he suggested that ‘the majority of the leaders were young men who had never established themselves in a reputable business or trade’, he went on to say: ‘One quality they had in common was an ability to incite a crowd to abuse and ridicule all constituted authority, whether chiefs, native commissioners, missionaries, federal African MPs,

Congress Spreads like Wild Fire


and many others working for the benefit of the African people.’ He refused to see - or else could never admit - that there must have been deep grievances among rural people for the ANC leaders to have such swift success; that there must have been bad relations between the people and the native commissioners and chiefs for the ANC leaders to have taught the crowds so easily how these officials were objects of ridicule. Looking back, this penetration into rural areas was perhaps the main achievement of the ANC. It started a chain of events which led to a modification of the powers of the Native Affairs Depart¬ ment, the ‘state within a state’ which was divided between Internal Affairs, Agriculture and Education ministries only after the ANC attack. The term ‘district commissioner’ was substituted for ‘native commissioner’. The cases its leaders took to court, defend¬ ing farmers’ rights against loss of land or cattle under the Land Husbandry Act, brought political consciousness into rural areas. They attacked the top white politicians: Chikerema was fined £100 for slander in 1958, because he had allegedly called Sir Patrick Fletcher a ‘thief’ when he was Minister of Native Affairs. Nyandoro had a case on the books against Whitehead himself for misapplication of the Land Husbandry Act; before it came to court Whitehead had given orders for Nyandoro and all the ANC central and branch officials to be detained. It is no wonder that, despite the banning of three nationalist parties, old people in the tribal reserves have never parted with their ANC cards. Besides this gathering of rural support, the ANC should be remembered for four contributions to the development of African political thought in Southern Rhodesia. I would label these con¬ tributions Professionalism, Non-racialism, Humanism, and PanAfricanism. Professionalism: The ANC had a simple organization. The head¬ quarters was an office facing the railway, with no telephone and only one typewriter and one office worker. Overseas visitors tended to be slightly scornful about its inadequacies. But it was the first successful attempt since the RICU by nationalists in Southern Rhodesia to rent an office and organize a party pro¬ fessionally. Earlier groups had been run from private houses, with piles of unsorted papers scattered around a sitting-room this in itself was considered a sign of importance in those early

Crisis in Rhodesia

days, an indication of concern with public affairs. C. C. Ngcebetsha ran his newspaper, the Bulawayo Home News, and a succession of organizations from a tiny office made out of a small enclosure on his veranda; Charles Mzingeli ran many trade unions from his grocery shop. The ANC headquarters was on a different, a politi¬ cally professional level. George Nyandoro was in and out of the office all the time, receiving rural delegations, swapping gossip and ideas at lunchtime with urban workers, and answering the questions of newspapermen. He had other helpers who devoted all their time to politics, to worrying about the needs of the people, and to thinking out new ideas. Non-racialism: The ANC was the first African party to open its doors to European members - to all Rhodesians who accepted the principles of universal suffrage and a classless society. Guy Clutton-Brock, who with his wife, Molly, lived on equal terms with Africans at St Faith’s Mission farm at Rusape and slept in township houses with a thin blanket when they came to Salisbury, was the first important recruit. Guy’s example, particularly when he was arrested with other Congress leaders in 1959, and the ANC constitution itself which Todd called ‘a reasonably moderate document’ encouraged a few progressive Europeans to join the African political organizations. The number grew until the ANC had 100 white members, at a time when Nyerere’s Tanganyika African National Union still barred any non-African. The ANC’s Statement of Principles, Policy and Programme was emphatically anti¬ racialist (see page 46). A second major aim of the ANC was participation in the legis¬ lature. Its President, Joshua Nkomo, writing in Africa South in mid-1959, in an article entitled ‘Crucible of Privilege’, said: ‘If there is to be any hope of peace and prosperity in our country, we are more convinced than ever that the time for a fundamental revision of the political, social and economic system is now. What we are asking for immediately is therefore direct participa¬ tion in the territorial legislature and Government. And we ask not as suppliants, but as a people who know that their rights cannot indefinitely be withheld from them.’ When the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union replaced the banned NDP in 1962, the non-racialism had advanced to the point where

Congress Spreads like Wild Fire