One of our aides here at Ida Culver is from Zimbabwe. She tells me that she used to be a pastor. I asked her today if she was in Zimbabwe when it became independent from Britain. Yes she said, she was grown up, married, and expecting their first child. I posed this question more thinking of Ian Smith and Harold Wilson in the 1960’s. If these names don’t mean anything to you, don’t worry, it means you are too young. This lead me to read up on my history. Zimbabwe didn’t gain its independence until 1980, 15 years after the Prime Minister Ian Smith declared Independence – his U.D.I. Sir Humphrey Gibbs took refuge in Government House.
My experience of African countries achieving independence was based on Kenya. I first visited Kenya in 1964, only a few months after Kenya had achieved independence on December 3, 1963. And then I went to Kenya again in 1966 and lived there for 2 years. The road to Independence was by no means smooth. The Mau Mau terror/violence lasted 8 years – 1952-1958.
Years later we went to Ghana, which was the first British Colony in Africa to be granted Independence in 1960. The British presence in West Africa did not mean settlement and land ownership. A different kettle of fish altogether.