In July 2007, Zimbabwe's worsening economy saw inflation skyrocket to 7,634 per cent, deepening the already chronic food shortages in a country where only one in five of the adult population is in employment.Months later, on 20 November 2007, Ian Smith, the former Prime Minister of Rhodesia died, leaving behind him a lifetime of resistance to black majority rule and the dangers that he believed it would bring to his country.Ian Smith was a man with the ability to excite powerful emotions in all who heard his name. To those who still revere his memory he was a hero, a mighty leader, a man whose formidable integrity led him into head-to-head confrontation with the Labour Government of Britain in the 1960s. To others, he was, and remains, a demon, a reactionary whose intransigence long delayed majority rule in an important corner of Africa.The last decades of the twentieth century and the first years of the new millennium have seen Zimbabwe spiral into a chaos of violence and towards the brink of economic collapse, prompting many to reappraise Smith's role and the prescience of his actions.In this revealing and important historical document, Ian Smith charts the rise and fall of a once-great nation. He tells the remarkable story behind the signing of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, as well as the excesses of power that Mugabe has used to create the virtual dictatorship which exists in Zimbabwe today.
Published:05 May 2008
Genre:Autobiography: historical, political & military
Secondary Genre:African history, Postwar 20th century history, from c 1945 to c 2000, Political leaders & leadership, Central government
Ian Smith was born on 8 April 1919 in rural Rhodesia. He was educated at Chaplin High School, Gwelo, and at Rhodes University, South Africa, before joining No. 237 (Rhodesia) Squadron, RAF. He became Prime Minister of Rhodesia in April 1964, and took his country through the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965. His term as Prime Minister ended with the first fully democratic election of April 1979.He was a minister without portfolio in Bishop Muzorewa's Government of National Unity and remained in Parliament until Robert Mugabe had him expelled in 1986. Ian Smith continued to farm in Zimbabwe, maintaining a keen interest in politics, until his death on 20 November 2007.