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Synopsis

This is an elucidation of accumulation of personal experience within the context of socio-cultural internalization in particular and the socio-political environment in general that is intended to provide some insights into a plethora of ingredients that converged and crystallized into a catalytic impetus that socially transformed my generation from village boys to highly politicised freedom fighters during the 1960s to the 1970s in Rhodesia. I hvae done this by tracing the footprints of my experience which show multiple stages and strands of cultural, social, political and physical determinants that landed themselves on my growth path starting from socialization in my parents’ home all the way through the local community traditions and schooling to active service for the freedom of my country at local and national levels. Here the crucial elements that moulded my social being in a very profound way have been ventilated to show when and how I became able to distinguish antagonistic differences between justice and injustice at my very early age. Proceeding from here I have brought out how I teamed up with others whose political outlook and aspirations were identical with mine as we all voluntarily joined anti-colonial struggle starting from (invisible) low intensity activism in schools and towns up to risky adventures that finished up in armed struggle within a broad national perspective. The narration further demonstrates the domesticity of the movements that championed liberation struggle as drivers were citizens who grew up in the rural villages and urban African Townships where they progressively became aware that they were born (unlike their parents) in a country under colonial administration. In doing all this I had to spell out how my interaction with informative social vectors brought awareness on how my country, Zimbabwe, was colonized and governed by Europeans without the consent of the indigenous natives who showed their resentment to foreign rule by rebelling (First Chimurenga) within six years of colonization but failed, only to succeed in the second rebellion (Second Chimurenga) after ninety years of racial domination. Furthermore I believe I have laid bare how I became a civilian freedom fighter, together with peers of my generation, in the second rebellion where intorable weight of oppression caused us to abandon nonviolent methods of struggle in favour of using arms of war to face a cobweb of security forces led by superb military machine of the colonial state wherein lay formidable challenges confronting rebelling citizens. The armed struggle phase meant that fighters and their collaborators had to face those challenges in the theatre of operation. Initially they exhibited more weaknesses than strengths and lost opportunities that were in the form of abundance of political support of masses of people in the country. The overall process of the struggle exhibited strengths and costly weaknesses right from the civilian phase up to the armed struggle phase with or without my participation. It was not until freedom fighters gained experience in planning and undertaking field operations that they became able to apply appropriate tactics that caused the struggle to gain sustainability in the theatre of operation. More importantly the narration makes the point that the Rhodesian colonial system was presided over by European settler leaders who hardly recognized African citizens as entitled to participation in governance of the country with equal rights in social, political, economical and juridical spheres of societal setting of two main races. Exclusion of African from consensus on the act of Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) by Ian Douglas Smith was a fundamental blunder that precipitated nationwide fury that lead to a civil war in which a deprived citizen fought against a privileged citizen who was indoctrinated with falsehood that his adversary, freedom fighter, was sponsored by foreign powers of a communist type while the latter rightly believed that he was fighting to free his country from racially imposed injustices of deprivation. More importantly, the narration lays emphasis on the creation of massive political structures throughout the country well below the radar of legality for the purpose of sustaining guerrilla warfare in the face of the super professional Rhodesian security forces. In this connection, the final phase of armed struggle demonstrated to all at home and abroad that freedom fighters became significantly effective because they were politically rooted in the oppressed population whence came their strength against superior military hard ware and a ‘water-tight’ counter-insurgency strategy of the Rhodesian security forces. Essenially, it was that political strength, not Communist powers or betrayal by the West, which caused all stakeholders to become willing to come to a negotiating table at Lancaster House in Brittain in 1979 to settle the armed conflict decisively.

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