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  • Michael Chalk

Reflecting on 44 years of Zimbabwe’s independence

On April 18th, 1980, Zimbabwe celebrated a historic moment – the end of colonial and white minority rule, and the birth of an independent nation with a government elected by universal franchise. The independence celebrations were held at Rufaro Stadium in Harare (formerly Salisbury), where the Union Jack was lowered for the last time, marking the end of British colonial rule in Africa. In its place, the new Zimbabwean flag was hoisted, marking the birth of Africa’s 50th independent nation.

The road to independence was fraught with struggle, including a fifteen-year period of ‘unrecognised’ independence declared by the white minority government, and the Rhodesian Bush War waged by the black population to break free from their colonial past. The war came to a rapid end following the ceasefire provisions of the Lancaster House Agreement, signed on 21st December 1979, by Britain and representatives of the major political parties in Zimbabwe including Bishop Abel Muzorewa, Ian Smith, Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo.

After independence, Robert Mugabe of ZANU-PF was sworn in as Prime Minister, succeeding Bishop Abel Muzorewa, who had led the short-lived transitional government of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.

The transfer of power stirred a range of emotions among different communities. For many whites, it brought feelings of grief, loss and betrayal, while for many blacks, it was a moment of hard-fought joy and liberation. However, the subsequent years of Zimbabwe's independence have been marked by significant challenges and dashed hopes for true democracy.

In my book, The Unravelling, I chronicle the events of those turbulent days in an unbiased manner, weaving historical facts into a powerful narrative of love, wildlife conservation, heroic deeds, political intrigue, and guerrilla warfare. The story also sparks thought-provoking debates about what could or ought to have been done to avoid the excesses and wrongs both pre and post-1980.

Watch the video below to learn more about The Unravelling:

If you're interested in purchasing a copy of the book, in paperback or eBook format, please click here.

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