Andrew HamiltonClassic Essays

The Rise of Rhodesia

Douglas Reed here describes the origin of White Rhodesia, a little-known story which nicely illustrates innate White exploration and nation-building tendencies, as well as where the colonists went wrong — e.g., inadvertently increasing the size of the Black population.

by Douglas Reed

Editor’s note: In order to understand where we are and where we must go it is necessary to understand where we have been — completely liberated from the chart forgers who mislead us. Good guides through the labyrinth of lies include the books of English author Douglas Reed, former Chief Central European Correspondent for the London Times. Not a White racialist, he was nevertheless a representative of that always-rare, now extinct species (surviving only as an oxymoron): an honest journalist. Disgusted with both the Leftist “West” and the Communist “East” — two sides of the same evil coin — he settled in South Africa after the war. His magnum opus, written between 1951 and 1954 but published posthumously, is The Controversy of Zion (Durban, South Africa: Dolphin Press, 1978). Its 300,000 words set forth Reed’s mature view of the role of Jews and the Left in the destruction of the West and the establishment of a global dictatorship. In addition to other valuable works, Reed wrote three books about southern Africa prior to its destruction: Somewhere South of Suez (London: Jonathan Cape, 1950), The Battle for Rhodesia (Cape Town, South Africa: HAUM, 1966), and The Siege of Southern Africa (Johannesburg, South Africa: Macmillan, 1974). Reed died in South Africa at age 81 in 1976. Following is an excerpt from The Battle for Rhodesia.

It is simple enough, a mathematical calculation. Rhodesia means you, from Whitehall to Washington, Wisconsin to Worcestershire, Wigan to Wilmington and Winnipeg, and you cannot escape it. Rhodesia is no distant, isolated African episode: it reaches into your very home, however far away you be.
— Douglas Reed

IN 1890 the American frontier halted. The last Indian hunting-grounds were overrun and the Redskins (in Canada too) left in enclaves similar to South Africa’s “Bantustans” of today, (save that these are to become self-governing states).

In Africa the moving frontier went on moving. In both places the pattern was the same: the horsedrawn covered wagons and the oxen-drawn trek wagons formed laagers when the attack came: Custer’s Last Stand of 1878 and Major Alan Wilson’s last stand of 1893 alike left no white man alive. Destiny was “manifest” in each case and “pioneer” was a brave name.

It was an old name, too, for pioneering began four hundred years earlier, when Bartholomew Diaz reached and Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape. The seas were uncharted and their seamen feared to fall off the edge of the world. Da Gama’s feat of seamanship in reaching and planting the Cross on Natal’s shore on Christmas Day 1498 (hence “Natal”, for the Nativity) in his wooden cockleshell was great, for these are treacherous waters where even in the 1960s big steel vessels such as the Aimèe Lykes, may strike the shoals. Then in 1652 Jan van Riebeeck was left at the Cape to store water and grow vegetables for Dutch ships eastward bound, and out of this market-garden sprang a new nation, Afrikanerdom, now a growing moral force in the world.

In 1776 the American colonists proclaimed their independence of government from three thousand miles away. The word “colonialism” then meant this mismanagement by remote control: today the word has been turned upside down and is used as a reproach against government-on-the-spot.

The Boers followed the American example when the Dutch ceded the Cape to England in 1806. They too, could not endure the distant hand and proclaimed UDI [Unilateral Declaration of Independence — a declaration of independence by a dependent state without the assent of the protecting state] in their own way: they inspanned their wagons, trekked over the northward mountains and across the Orange and Vaal, and set up their own republics. Therewith the moving frontier moved far inland and with the Portuguese settlements on the western and eastern coasts [Angola and Mozambique], Southern Africa became the white man’s settled domain.

Rhodesia goes it alone, November 11, 1965. It was the first unilateral break from the United Kingdom by one of its colonies since the US Declaration of Independence two centuries earlier. But White nationalism is the only nationalism the world’s rulers refuse to countenance. The United Nations and its constituent members, the British Commonwealth, and Great Britain declared independence illegal and imposed harsh sanctions to crush the new regime. State-sponsored terrorism by Black Communists was instigated, armed, and funded by these forces, and White Rhodesia remained an embattled, “unrecognized state” until capitulating to the Blacks who set up the current racial dictatorship a decade later.

Remained the unknown middle part of Africa, a dark enigma, and soon the moving frontier moved thither. Into that unknown land, in the 1840s and later, came first the missionaries, led by those great Scotsmen Robert Moffat, his son-in-law David Livingstone, John Moffat, James Stewart and others. The world hailed them, too, as Christian pioneers, and America shared the sense of pride when the Britisher, Henry Morton Stanley (late of the U.S. Navy), sent by Gordon Bennett and the New York Herald to search for Livingstone, found him in 1871.

Even today Central Africa is a formidable place and the dangers these men endured, though different, were not less than those braved by those later pioneers, the astronauts of today. Slave raids and inter-tribal wars, wild beasts and reptiles, malaria, dysentery, blackwater fever, yaws, Little Irons: all these made for nightmare journeys and the men who achieved them were held in the awe that is the due of Spacemen now.

The world they left behind was solidly with them, for their great purpose was to root out slavery, which the warrior tribes and the Arab slave-traders together practised. They were the banner-bearers of Christian civilization in Central Africa, and all Europe and America, in that Victorian heyday, shared this belief. So did the “settlers” who followed.

From the day when Livingstone, seeking the source of the Nile, discovered the Thundering Smoke (Victoria Falls) and went on to explore the Zambezi River, the frontier began to move northward again, into what is today Rhodesia. Its original peoples, the Bushmen and Hottentots, had been exterminated by warrior tribes and the area now was held by later comers, the newly-arrived Matabele in the west and the Mashona in the east. The Matabele, under King Moselikatze, some decades earlier split off and fled from the Zulus of Natal, under the terrible Chaka. They were warriors and scorned the Mashona “dogs”. (After seventy years of the white man’s peace this feud still simmers and would at once burst out if one-man-one-vote were imposed here, for the Mashona are far more numerous than the Matabele, who would not submit to this “majority rule”: for this reason both groups want the white man’s protection to continue).

Into this dangerous scene stepped a clergyman’s son from England, Cecil Rhodes, who by 1878 gained control of the Kimberley diamond industry. His vision went beyond money and a diamond empire. His conviction was that the white man was best fitted to open up Central Africa, the dark enigma. Like Livingstone, he believed that white enterprise alone could save the continent from poverty, slavery and disease and that British rule would be a blessing for its peoples. Britain, he held, could not afford to stand aloof: without her overseas possessions the little kingdom would be but an overcrowded, insignificant island in northern European waters. Today his belief is receiving its ultimate test (and you, dear insular reader, will see the answer).

Rhodes looked northward, wondering if another gold and diamond empire might lie in the land that now bears his name. In 1888 John Moffat obtained from King Lobengula, Moselikatze’s successor, the concession of “all metals and minerals” in the Matabele Kingdom for Rhodes and his “British South Africa Company”. In 1889 Queen Victoria signed the Charter empowering the Company, in effect, to govern the territory.

Next came the task of moving the frontier across the territory thus assigned, where were only a tiny handful of white men, isolated among Lobengula and his redoubtable impis and the Mashona. Rhodes formed the Pioneer Corps of some 200 picked men, accompanied by 500 British South Africa Company police. [The British South Africa police have retained the name and still keep order in Rhodesia today. This is an élite force with a magnificent tradition, comparable with the Mounties of Canada and the Texas Rangers.] This column succeeded in by-passing the hostile Matabele and on September 12, 1890 reached the spot which they called Fort Salisbury: the beleaguered Salisbury of today.

With that the moving frontier halted and the white man established himself in the land. The Pioneers (“duke’s son, cook’s son …”) dispersed and were given mining claims and farms. Among them was an American, William Harvey Brown. He called his farm Arlington (after Arlington, D.C.) and travellers landing at Salisbury Airport today alight on its site.

The white man was in Rhodesia but three wars had to be fought before he was secure. King Lobengula had agreed that he might mine for gold, but the Matabele warriors did not agree that they must cease from enslaving the Mashona, who in turn deduced that the white man was too weak to protect them and refused labour for his mines and farms. In 1893 Mashona were massacred near Fort Victoria and when the Matabele king refused to give up his claim to the Mashona raiding grounds, war began. Lobengula burned his capital and fled. Major Alan Wilson with a small force tried to capture Lobengula in his kraal and failed: all were wiped out. Lobengula escaped and died, possibly by suicide, Matabele resistance collapsed, and in later time a great city, Bulawayo, rose on the site of Lobengula’s kraal.

After that the number of settlers quickly increased, but in 1895 the collapse of Dr. Jameson’s raid into the Transvaal, which dimmed Rhodes’s prestige, and the consequent absence of white troops from Matabeleland, again persuaded the Matabele that the white man could be crushed: he was weak! They rose in 1896 in the usual manner: 130 unsuspecting white men and their families were shot, stoned, bludgeoned or speared. A force of 2,000 white and 600 black troops was raised to put down this rising but (as in the later South African war) an elusive enemy, fighting on his home ground of precipitous kopjes, rocks, boulders and caves, proved hard to find and fight.

Then the Mashona, of whom the white folk had adopted the Matabele’s opinion, surprised all by rising too. They also thought the white man was weak, that the Matabele would win, and that they, the Mashona, would pay the price if they did not help crush the white man. Their rising followed the Matabele pattern: servants thought faithful suddenly turned and did women and children to death, murdered prospectors in their camps, miners in their shafts, storekeepers behind their counters. (In the 1960s this pattern was often repeated, in Kenya, the Congo and other newly “independent” places: the old ways reappeared).

The Mashona were subdued in 1897. In the meantime Rhodes performed his legendary exploit of pacifying the fierce Matabele. With a small, unprotected party, including two women, he met the Matabele chiefs and induced them to lay down their arms. They gave him the name “Lamula ‘mkunzi”, “Separator of the Fighting Bulls”, for this, his greatest triumph. This, the start of seventy years of peace, is today a memory as vivid and significant in the Matabele and Mashona mind as that of Magna Charta or Independence in the British and American one. For them, a new life began that day.

(Seventy years later, a Mr. Arthur Bottomley [Britain’s Left-wing Minister of Overseas Development under the anti-White Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson] from Walthamstow met the Matabele and Mashona chiefs, to whom Rhodes and his achievement were a living memory, as they repeatedly told him. He could not at all grasp the significance of the episode: they found him unintelligible; and although the African chief is a model of courtesy in such debates, one of them in despair was moved to say, “If I had my own way we would walk out of this meeting and leave Mr. Bottomley here alone”. Kipling was right: when two strong men stand face to face they can understand each other, no matter what their skin or language. Between such as Mr. Bottomley and these tribal leaders no communion of minds was possible. Across the great gulf fixed between them, the chiefs looked and saw the living emblem of the white man’s weakness, to them the fault beyond forgiving).

The two rebellions cost the whites about one-tenth of their numbers in casualties, a percentage, I believe, never otherwise known in war. The white folk never faltered or thought of quitting. They stayed and (as Mr. L.H. Gann says [in his History of Southern Rhodesia, Chatto & Windus, 1965]) “Their will to rule remained unbroken. They felt that history was on their side, that Europe stood behind them, and that they formed the vanguard of civilization in Darkest Africa … The whites in Rhodesia never experienced that clammy sense of moral and political isolation, which weighed down their successors two generations later”.

That means today. If “history” is that which is manufactured in our time by machines that reach the ear, eye and mind of millions, then it is against the whites. But they still believe what their grandparents believed. When a British Minister told Rhodesian representatives. “We have lost the will to govern”, one of them told him “But we have not”. In Rhodesia, and in South Africa, the white man’s will still “remains unbroken” for a’ that, no matter what may happen in Rhodes’s overcrowded little island in the North Sea or elsewhere. [A too-optimistic assessment, as we now know. I was reading such statements about South Africans by otherwise right-thinking Whites as late as the late 1980s! One must be coldly realistic to survive against the enemies we face.]

The moving frontier halted at last, in 1897, seven years after the American one stopped. Followed seventy years during which no black man needed fear the slave-raiders or the outcry of enemy tribes in the night, around his huts. There was peace in the land.

Today the attempt is to destroy all that thus was gained.

In following years the territory encompassed by the moving frontier was divided into three parts: Southern and Northern Rhodesia (effectively governed by the Company) and Nyasaland (governed directly from London). Between 1900 and 1910 slavery and tribal wars were stamped out in all.

Southern Rhodesia (today’s Rhodesia), the area of the original conquest, was a case by itself. Its white population was greater and its development quicker: the African bushveld began to blossom like the rose; and the settlers grew restive under the hand of a board of directors in London, as the American colonists, earlier, under that of King George. As the date for the renewal of the Company’s charter from the Queen approached, their demand for self- government swelled. In 1922 the voters were offered, by referendum, self-government or (at Mr. Winston Churchill’s suggestion) union with South Africa. Much talk of a republic was heard from South Africa and the Rhodesians, intensely loyal to The Crown, chose Responsible Government, which London granted in 1923.

Rhodes was dead, but his work flourished. From that day, 43 years ago, Rhodesia has governed itself, London retaining only some control over laws affecting the tribal population and safeguarding them against any discriminatory disabilities. The successive Constitutions have contained no racial discrimination. The qualification for the vote requires moderate amounts in cash, property or income.

In practice the black community votes little, for reasons which lengthy residence among them alone can make clear. Most of them find “voting” unintelligible: their immemorial tradition is against “choosing” and for decisions reached in pyramidal tribal conclave, of villagers, village elders, district headmen and chiefs. The notion that “the children”, at the bottom level, should challenge tribal authority and unanimity is as Chinese to them. They believe that the tribe’s spirits, or ancestors, consulted through the chief’s medium, or oracle, ultimately decide the tribe’s weal or woe.

For example: in one tribe a child was sacrificed, at the spirit’s bidding, to the rain-god. The Chief was imprisoned for eighteen months and on the day of his release rain fell. The tribespeople drew the obvious conclusion (incidentally, their beliefs are respected by white folk who live among them). . . .

Gradualism produced results, in the form of increasing African participation in Parliament and all walks of life. However, gradualism, though the best expedient now and for the near future, is not a solution. The solution, as I will later show, lies elsewhere.

In thirty years of self-government, 1923-1953, Rhodesia strode ahead as if on seven-league boots. The astonishing thing is how much was done in how short a time. That impressed me in South Africa, too, but South Africa has a white population of some millions and has had three centuries to build. Rhodesia has a white population of about a quarter-million and has had but seventy years.

At the start the land was scrub, constantly impoverished by the tribal method of farming and by erosion. The lifegiving waters drained away into the Indian Ocean. Disease, tribal raids and wild beasts ravaged the people and the land. It was still, as James Stewart found it in the 1860s, “a lonely land of barbarism, of wild beasts, of timid and harried but not unkindly men, harassed by never-ending slave raids and inter-tribal wars”.

Today water conservation in Rhodesia is a model for the world. The lethal diseases, killing and slavery have been stamped down and almost out. The white farming areas show crops, the equal of those in the Mid West or anywhere in the world. The tribes occupy more than half the land, but the contribution of this to the economy is insignificant because the tribesman clings to his immemorial custom of growing just enough to eat, grazing the land bare, and when it is denuded, breaking up his huts and moving elsewhither, there to repeat the process.

The allegation is often heard that the tribes “only get the poorest land”. The matter may be checked, by any who care, at the great Triangle sugarlands in the Rhodesian lowveld. This land was raw scrub in 1912 and little that looked less promising could have been found when another indomitable Scotsman, Tom MacDougall, saw it then. The First War delayed him but in 1919 he began with his hands to clear a patch or two. A secondhand mill, bought in Natal, needed two years to reach him, by lorry and ox-wagon, from the border at Beit Bridge. By 1935 he produced ten tons of sugar. Today, when big concerns have taken over, twenty thousand acres are under sugar and the endless crops gladden the eye of man.

The land problem may be studied at the Domboshawa Training Centre, near Salisbury, where men from the tribal districts receive instruction in local self-government. It was formerly an agricultural training centre and still has a farm, where fine crops grow. On the side of its fence is tribal land, bare and denuded, where, one might say, nothing would grow. The land on either side of the fence is the same: only the method is different.

The white man’s achievement may be studied, for example, in little Umtali, which reminded me of a mountain village in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It has 9,000 white and 35,000 black people, and the white ones provide nine-tenths of its revenue. Over the years this small place has built some six thousand houses for the African community and (from beer-hall proceeds) a stadium for the black folk costing £75,000, a swimming pool, picture-theatre, infant schools and crèches and much more. I doubt whether an English or American town of comparable size could equal this achievement.

Rhodesia’s growth was always fast but the great acceleration came after the Second War, in 1945. The next twenty years brought probably the most rapid development the world has ever seen. Still building on the tradition of sound administration and probity in public affairs which it thought to be its rocklike heritage from England, the country flourished exceedingly, managing its own affairs and spending nobody’s money but its own.

Within Rhodesia the people, white and black, grew in beauty, as one might say, side by side. The emphasis is on side by side, as distinct from together, and here lies the difference between the temporary expedient, gradualism, and the ultimate solution, separateness.

Before Responsible Government was granted in 1923 the Rhodesian delegates in London raised the question of territorial segregation and Mr. Winston Churchill (then the Minister competent) agreed that the existing law might be changed if an impartial enquiry upheld this method. Seldom was so emphatic a judgment delivered as that of the Commission then appointed (under Sir Morris Carter):

“The evidence … leaves no doubt as to the wishes of all classes of the inhabitants … an overwhelming majority of those who understand the question are in favour of the establishment of separate areas in which each of the two races, black and white, should be permitted to acquire interests in land … However desirable it may be that members of the two races should live together side by side with equal rights as regards the holding of land, we are convinced that in practice, probably for generations to come, such a policy is not practicable or in the best interests of the two races. Until the Native has advanced very much further on the paths of civilization it is better that the points of contact between the two races should be reduced and a lengthy period afforded for the study of the whole question of the future of the relations between the two races in an atmosphere which is freed as far as possible from the setbacks which would ensue from the irritations and conflicts arising from the constant close proximity of members of races of different habits, ideals and outlook upon life” (my italics).

This was then, and today is the immutable African truth, unpalatable to those who live snug, and perhaps smug, on Boston’s Back Bay or Bournemouth’s beachfront, and very anathema to those high initiates who seek through chaos in Africa to set up the World Dictatorship. Wisdom spoke then. Today, the pressure, and the menaces, from London and Washington are used to enforce the very opposite of this prudent ruling, to exacerbate “irritations and conflicts”, to set the two races against each other, and to foment an atmosphere of war.

But if the future is to be one of improving relationship between white and black folk, and of mutual betterment in material things, separate life in separate lands is the only longterm solution. In Rhodesia policy followed this recommendation and the white and black areas are distinct, but dotted in enclaves over the map. What the chief and tribesman most would like would be a separate homeland, side by side with a white homeland, in Rhodesia, and for this reason he gazes approvingly across the frontier at the Transkei, South Africa’s first “Bantustan”. . . .

Transkei (lower right, in orange) and South Africa’s other Black homelands. Most racialists seem unaware that ethnostates were tried in southern Africa with state backing. Reed described the experiment while it was in progress in The Siege of Southern Africa. Of course, it was ruthlessly crushed from outside.

As to that, there is one simple test by which the white folk’s supreme achievement in Rhodesia, in relation to the black ones, may be measured. If life be the greatest gift of all, then the white man gave the black one life. Seventy years ago some 400,000 tribespeople occupied this area, and but for the coming of the white man they would not be many more today: disease, the assegai and the slaver would have seen to that. Today they number over 4,000,000, half of them children. They have been rid of disease, infant mortality, death by the spear and burning, and abduction and sale to the bordellos and harems of Arabia.

* * *

Source: Andrew Hamilton

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Anthony Collins
Anthony Collins
16 May, 2017 9:02 am

Perhaps a good follow-up to this article would be the chapter dealing with the Jewish role in undermining Rhodesia in Ivor Benson’s The Zionist Factor; I think this chapter was largely based on B. A. Kosmin’s work, Majuta: A History of the Jewish Community in Rhodesia.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read Benson’s early book, The Opinion Makers, but I distinctly recall one detail he reported: products of the mainstream media, such as Time and Newsweek, were not subject to the embargo upon exports to Rhodesia.

17 May, 2017 6:02 am

I discovered Douglas Reed and read all his books many years ago. He was one of only a few geniuses who clearly saw and warned against the oncoming catastrophe that the rest of the world continues to stumble into, deaf dumb and blind, even today. Thank you for calling attention to this great man and his very timely message.

If the White Race can learn the lessons of Rhodesia, perhaps we can do things better next time.

Harold Covington
Harold Covington
20 May, 2017 10:36 am

As one who fought with the Rhodesian army in their struggle to defeat the Marxist takeover of their country, the thing I’ve come to realize in all the intervening years is that there is no other way but bloodshed to save a white country once it teeters on the brink of the non-white abyss. Whether the National Alliance or my own Northwest Front finds the way, find it we must. Separately, or united, I am open to both.

Harold Covington,
author of the Northwest Quintet

LH Collins
LH Collins
27 July, 2021 4:30 pm

I’m not one of those “empire is folly people”. But there are better ways to manage one WITHOUT the inclusion of people who are uncivilised and ungovernable. White colonial empires in Africa could have existed without the inclusion of Bantus, Cushites, Arabs or Tuaregs. The French should have expelled the Arabs and Jews from North African cities and remade them in their image. The King of Belgium could have harvested rubber with the labour of colonists who were incentivied to go to the Congo Free State.The Portuguese in Angola and Mozembique could settled with Portuguese colonists in all labour roles. The Cape and Natal might have been given dominion status separately, without the responsibility of custodianship over the Bantu reservations, and have removed the Bantus and Cape Coloureds. The Boer… Read more »

Andrew Hamilton
Andrew Hamilton
Reply to  LH Collins
27 July, 2021 10:39 pm

Southern Africa should be reclaimed by Whites.

Unceremoniously push all Blacks and other non-Whites out of the region and establish a new, no-nonsense (the opposite of the Southern U.S. border) northern boundary north of the Kalahari and Namib deserts in the center and west, then following the Zambezi River where it turns east until it empties into the Indian Ocean. The two deserts can serve in part as natural barriers to migration, akin to the Sahara Desert in the north.

Much of the area is bleak and unproductive. But that’s OK. There are some valuable minerals.