Rhodesian Rebellion: Ian Smith: The Rebel: We lived with the World against us…

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[This is a short article written by a lady in 2018. This will give you a bit of information about Ian Smith. He did the best he could for us. Jan]

English II – 4th

16 May 2018

We Lived With The World Against Us: How Ian Smith Changed The World

On April 8th, 1919 in present day Shurugwi, Zimbabwe, Ian Smith was born (Britannica). Little did this man, or his family know that he would become one of the greatest and controversial rulers in african history. Ian smith was the first native born prime minister of Southern Rhodesia, and the first prime minister of Rhodesia (Britannica). On November 11th, 1965 Smith declared UDI, or the unilateral declaration of independence, and set his homeland and himself on a path to greatness (Britannica). Although Ian Smith is widely shunned by the rest of the modern world, his policies and actions brought the native africans, and the afrikaners of Rhodesia to the forefront of the modern world.

Ian Smith was born on April 8th 1919 in Selukwe, Rhodesia. In Smith’s early life he attended Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. However, in 1939 he left his studies to become a fighter pilot in the royal air force during World War II. Smith was shot down twice in battle and managed to survive throughout the war (britannica). After his service Ian Smith completed his studies in South Africa, and became the youngest member to be elected to the Rhodesian parliament at age 29 (Ian Douglas Smith: A Bit of a Rebel). He was soon elected as the prime minister of Southern Rhodesia. Smith was the first native born ruler of the colony.

Smith’s political career didn’t start off with a bang, but it wasn’t slow by any means. Ian Smith became the youngest member of the Rhodesian parliament and very soon after became the prime minister of Southern Rhodesia in 1964 (britannica). The United Kingdom soon began to grant african nations independence. However, Smith saw this and realized the amount of disarray the newly freed nations had gotten themselves into due to the poor regimes put in power by the british. To prevent this happening to his homeland Ian Smith made a very hard decision to declare UDI on November 11, 1965, and withdraw from the commonwealth. UDI was a huge shock to the commonwealth. Southern Rhodesia changed its name to Rhodesia, and began its journey to flourish among all the other nations of the world. His small nation soon was met with sanctions from almost every nation is the world, in hopes that his country would topple over and could be scooped up by the UK (Flores). Despite these sanctions Rhodesia became a country that many people even in europe envied. The living standards of black and white Rhodesians in the small nation were far above that of many other modern nations, and the highest in Africa. The Rhodesian military was second to none on the continent, and a force to be reckoned with on the world scale. Smith took a nation that many people said would fall in a year and made it one of the most free and prosperous nations in the world. From july of 1964 to the December of 1975 Rhodesia was locked in a war on terror with the Patriotic Front, or PF and the Zimbabwean African National Union, and ZANU. During this conflict Ian Smith had to stop the terror being exercised on his people, and stop the spread of communism if he wanted to save his country and african modernity. It was common at this time for ZANU and PF “freedom fighters” to break into rural villages and torture men and women often in villages where they grew up as children (Rhodesia 1976). After Smith refused to give governmental authority to ZANU and PF, more sanctions from the UN and war followed. Smith’s idea of a moderate black majority government seemed unreachable, and proved to be. Despite Smith’s efforts to keep a oasis in southern africa, the UN and increased terrorism forced Smith to change government authority to a new government swiftly. The new regime in power changed the nations name to Zimbabwe – Rhodesia, and featured a moderate government with both white and black representatives including Ian Smith. However, this moderate government didn’t last. Soon Robert Mugabe, leader of the ZANU faction created an alliance with Nkomo, the ruler of the PF faction and began to push for a communist reform and continued terror. In February the moderate government of Zimbabwe – Rhodesia came to an end when the newly formed ZANU-PF party won the elections bringing Robert Mugabe to power over the nation (Ingham). The small country was renamed Zimbabwe and in 2002 Smith was stripped of his citizenship of the land he loved and cherished so much (Zimbabwe Smith | AP Archive).

Although Ian Smith had a downfall that shook the Africa, and the world, he still left a huge impact on Africa. Ian Smith created a nation that to this day set the bar of what African, and western civilization should be. He also showed how far one can go despite being abandoned by all of one’s friends and connections (Flores). The world has also learned from his downfall that communism and socialism are capable of taking a powerful and proud nation to a poor and crime ridden dystopia. Ian Smith’s dream of a prosperous Rhodesia failed in the end and sadly in 2007 on the 20th of November, Smith passed away in Cape town South Africa.

Even though Ian smith was portrayed as a rebel by the british and a horrible ruler by ZANU-PF, he was one of the best and fairest rulers that Africa, and the world has ever seen. His ideas and aim for a smooth transition into black majority rule proved to be the best plan for his homeland, but sadly radical communists with skewed views of reality changed Smith’s pride and joy to a poor excuse for a country. Although none have followed Smith’s dream of a prosperous Rhodesia yet, Many have observed his rise and fall and seen what just one man can do to change his homeland, and the world. Sadly Ian Smith will most likely be remembered as a horrible and unjust ruler just as the UN and communist “freedom fighters” have painted him as. Even though the world was against him in every way possible it was Ian Smith who knew how far justice and freedom could bring a people

Works Cited

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Ian Smith.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1 Apr. 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/Ian-Smith.

Flores, Monica. “Africa Stage: Monica Dispatch – August 7, 1999.” Middle East Stage: Kavitha Dispatch – April 5, 2000, www.worldtrek.org/odyssey/africa/080799/080799monicaian.html.

“Ian Douglas Smith: A Bit of a Rebel (Full Programme and Interview).” YouTube, Fine Claret Media, 6 Jan. 2017,


Ingham, Kenneth, and Kenneth Bradley. “Zimbabwe.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 22 Feb. 2018, www.britannica.com/place/Zimbabwe/Rhodesia-and-the-UDI.

“Rhodesia 1976 Documentary : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming.” Internet Archive, The Library Shelf, 29 July 2013, archive.org/details/Rhodesia1976.

“Zimbabwe Smith | AP Archive.” AP, 28 Mar. 2002, www.aparchive.com/metadata/Zimbabwe-Smith/9d206b7b05a299df2df1fa383ed236c5?query=ian%2Bsmith%2Bcitizenship.

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