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As student activists in the 1960s and 1970s, many black Zimbabweans agitated and protested against the white nationalism of the Rhodesian Front. Led by Ian Smith, from the early to mid-1960s, the Rhodesian Front, an organization of local reactionary whites, defied Britain’s order that they negotiate a shared future with the black majority. Over the next fifteen years, the RF systematically set about removing black people from virtually all aspects of public life, and Smith declared that he didn’t believe in majority rule—”not in a thousand years.” For black students, their politics of liberation found a shared language and organization in support of the nationalist struggle—a rurally-fought bush war being waged by the armed wings of ZANU(PF) and PF-ZAPU. In 1980, Zimbabwe gained its independence through negotiated settlement. Yet the freedom dreams which inspired these protestor’s activism was a far cry from the narrow instrumental anti-colonialism used by ZANU(PF) to maintain its rule after 2000.



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