Africa's forgotten cold war - Rhodesian Bush War

in war •  last year

Its not surprising given the surrounding geopolitical situation that the remaining white minority governments in Southern Africa began to feel very threatened.

Zaire was a mess, Zambia was socialist, the Portuguese were fighting against Soviet backed insurgents and forces in Angola and Mozambique, SWA had insurgents with Soviet backing, the ANC had declared an armed struggle with Soviet backing and many of these insurgencies were originating out of training bases in Tanzania.

Many white Rhodesians were concerned that decolonisation and majority rule would bring chaos as had resulted in the former Belgian Congo after its independence in 1960. Britain's unwillingness to compromise on its policy of "No independence before majority rule" led to Rhodesia's unilateral declaration of independence on 11 November 1965. Though Rhodesia had the unofficial support of neighbouring South Africa and Portugal, which governed Mozambique, it never gained formal diplomatic recognition from any country.

It wasn't long before the black majority formed a nationalist movement to bring about majority rule in the country.

This split in August 1963 to form:

The Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) with its military wing ZIPRA under Joshua Nkomo backed by the Soviets
Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) with its military wing ZANLA later under Robert Mugabe backed by China

These were generally divided along Shona and Ndebele ethnic lines in the war against the Rhodesian security forces.

Many white Rhodesians viewed the war as one of survival in the context of atrocities committed against the white population during the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya and in the Congo. Many whites (and a sizeable minority of black Rhodesians) viewed their lifestyle as being under attack, which both had considered safer and with a higher standard of living than many other African countries. Although the vote in Rhodesia was technically open to all, regardless of race, property ownership requirements effectively denied the franchise to most of Rhodesia's blacks.

Cuba was waiting in the wings to assist, North Korea trained insurgents in the use of explosives and surrounding independent stats especially Tanzania acted as training havens.

The Rhodesian government contended that they were defending Western values, Christianity, the rule of law and democracy by fighting Communists; however, they were unwilling to compromise on most political, economic and social inequalities. The Smith administration held that the traditional chiefs were the legitimate voice of the black Shona and Ndebele population, not the ZANU and ZAPU nationalists, who it regarded as dangerous, violent usurpers.

By Cliftonian , CC0, Link

By 1970, with their secret alliance, Rhodesia, South Africa and the two Portuguese colonies assisted each other wherever they could in the air and on the ground with troops and material in their respective counter insurgency initiatives.

The disruption of this alliance, by the sudden withdrawal of Portugal from its colonies after a change in government in Portugal, would immediately leave South Africa and Rhodesia far more exposed on at least two borders.

South Africa had previously had at least one country between it and insurgent bases. This was all about to change and it was on this basis that the south African forces became even more aggressively involved in the soon to be independent Angola.

The South African Border War that had been gradually escalating would take on a whole new dimension with Operation Savannah beginning late in 1975 just before Angola became independent.

Quoted parts from relevant Wikipedia pages

Other posts in this series

The piece of the cold war nobody told you about - Africa's forgotten war

The air battles
The SA Fighter Aircraft
The SA Bomber Aircraft
The conflicts deep roots and start
Regional Tensions
Africa's forgotten cold war - Angolan War of Independence.
Africa's forgotten cold war - Mozambican War of Independence.

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@gavvet I'm not proud to say it but I didn't even know Rhodesia even existed anymore. I thought it was part of South Africa or maybe even the former name of South Africa. Peace and love.

I like your post. Thank you for the information

great post

i like your post! please upvote and follow me back ! thanks :)

Amazing posts. I like how you highlight something that is not that known to people. I mentioned you in my latest post, because you derserve it!

Your articles are tought to read but very informative though , thanks :)

All will go smoothly with the peace and the two see feeling disadvantaged ..

how little I know about Africa :(


LOL, don't feel bad. Powerful people decided to keep you in the dark before you were even born.

This saga brings some unpleasant memories of incidents involving one of our company agents being shot during the uprising in Zimbabwe. Well - I guess wars serve as a reminder to humanity of what happens if peaceful coexistence is breached. Wars should not be forgotten in my personal opinion.


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Very refreshing point of view. Unfortunately, too many are unwilling to learn from the mistakes of the past. Racism is till an issue in many nations even though history has made it clear how this story ends for the racists.

They just don't care it seems.

Thank you, very informative.

This is great stuff and really interesting! I did a series on Neo-colonialism in Africa mostly focusing on Congo, Nigeria Sudan, Central African Rep.. I'm not sure about Rhodesia and how it fits the pattern, but from what I've seen elsewhere, the western banks and corporations arm and create hostilities in the radical Islamic community (not difficult) Then after enough civilians are killed the UN steps in and "elects" a new leader that wants to play ball with the corporations. the people keep getting the shit end of the stick and everybody else gets rich. Please tell me there's hope for Rhodesia- I could use a little good news.


My sentiments exactly.


I just hope the rest of Africa can resist the UN involvement.


I think the future will be very different. With the aid of China, Africa will be super-power within 100 years.


It wouldn't bother me in the least... They deserve it for everything they've been through. It will take crushing the UN first!


The UN will fall on its own. You can't create a world based on savagery, lies, deceit and expect it to last. It won't.

Good one @gavvet a good analysis of Africa's forgotten cold war - Rhodesian Bush War Upvoted

This also known as the Second Chimurenga or the Zimbabwe War of Liberation. This post is very interesting. Thanks @gavvet

Cuba is still a mess... So many people go there and see the poor lifestyle of other... BUT ONE THING IS TRUE, most people there are happy!

My friend went there and said it was the best time he ever had! Was just sad to see people in a struggle , and so many of them... :(

Btw cool post will be joining your series ;)



Its a wonderful island just economically a very big mess partly due to the numerous embargo and the currently and past leadership, We are still fighting in the name of independence, a lost cause for most of these post-colonial countries, everyone love the islands but would get out to make a better life for themselves and their families... interestingly the tourist always want to stay when they visit


I can only say TRUE! ;)

And upvote! Gotta a slider now finally! ;)

Wow another great forgotten war.
The Portuguese were really being outdone with the support of the USSR.

Great Post
Thank you

60 votes in 8 minutes. Who is this guy@gavvet?

Damn there is a lot more stuff about Africa I didn't know, thanks for sharing!

impressive post

200 $ for 1 minute...That is Impressive Me!

I like the informative

Amazing post...thank you sharing your valuble knowledge with other steemians...i waiting your next valuble post.. thanks @gavvet

I hate war, can not they make peace? It feels like they are pitted against a sheep


Make peace with?

Again, this information is so valuable for people to read about. This is history and war that so many people know nothing about as we are often so engulfed in only what affects us. I can't imagine going through this type of war and tension that I'm sure everyone was going through every day.

@gavvet Wonderful Post. Nicely Written and Illustrated. You have good writing skills , love the way you write about history and war. Very Informative. Great Job. Upvoted , have a nice day.:)

The warlords are fully aware of the manipulation of opinion through the power of the headlines, of every word and of every image that encourages hatred, hopelessness, the horror of one actor, the innocence and the heroism of the other. They and their advisers know that the repetition of acts of war, spreading the idea of chaos to make us believe that we are worse than before, that naturalizes the action of killing, of murdering has its achievements in opinion in favor of war.

cheers ...

nice post thanks you!Follow!

As far as I know, Africa, as a continent, faced discrimination worldwide and for this reason they are now exiting ICC.


Bout time. Never understood why Africa doesn't go the North Korean route. It's literally the only continent that doesn't need the others. Hate to say it, but I would love to see a black Hitler type take over that continent.

Do you think the war is over or has continued to this day? If it has continued what do you think can be done to resolve the matter? What are your views on the land ownership and the distribution of wealth? Nice piece, but I would like to add that Cuba also played a major role in providing medical personals to assist fighters not just training in explosive. It was a way of gaining influence and arming their brothers in the struggle for freedom. Sadly, we haven't address psychological epigenetic mind-change that colonialism has caused and still linger's today. There is a reason why all these post-colonial countries leader never give up power and the countries are so poor.
For me, the sad current state of Zimbabwe has largely to deal with the present leadership but the economics woes stem from the undercutting of the government by external forces that still grieve from the past.

I heard last night from reknown soirce that Africa is building a LHC similar to Cern to summon a retired nephilum, booooo hate hate hate!

Its like sharing your broken hurt with someone
The story is such divine that the nation needs to know
Thank you @gavvet

Are Zimbabwe and Rhodesia the same? I once read that Rhodesia did not get recognition as a country.


Essentially the same thing, depending on who you ask these days and their background they would give you a different answer but Rhodesia is what is today known as Zimbabwe


I followed you @daudimitch. Nice to know you.

Its interesting to read your posts about what was happening.

deep analysis..thanks @gavvet for sharing. At least we know the racial can create a serious humanity impact.

thank you

I like your post! Upvoted

So what were the developments for Zimbabwe? Did Cuba take part, in the end, or not?

Africa is always forgotten. The world doesnt care. Most countries go in there just to take the natural resources and leave nothing for thr people

I never even realized any of that had ever taken place before,even the thought of it terrifies me.I cant imagine what it would of been like living through it. War brings out the the worst aspects of mankind.We should as a people, learn from the mistakes that our ancestors made,so we can make the future a better place to live in

thank you for good posting

the Cold War did not degenerate into a direct conflict in Central Africa between the two great powers, just as it could not do elsewhere. This is easily understood since the Cold War has never developed to the extreme, despite propaganda, threats and aggressive rhetoric. Indeed, the "adversary partners"
Have had diverse fortunes in Central Africa. Thus, in Congo-Leopoldville, the Americans and the free world won the game because they managed to impose their man, Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, in power. As a result, Congo-Leopoldville remained an area of ​​Western influence. In Congo-Brazzaville, Marxism-Leninism also imposed itself, since the scientific socialists of Brazzaville denounced and revised the agreements that bind them to Paris. In Angola, the anti-imperialist camp or block of the East led by the Soviets and Cubans won the stake through its ally Dr. Agostino Neto.
Against its will, Central Africa was at the center of the East-West diplomatic-strategic stakes which surpassed it. Thus, these three countries aligned according to their ideological sensitivity: Congo-Leopoldville on the western camp; Congo-Brazzaville and Angola for their part on the socialist camp.

After six years of confl ict, a unity accord was eventually signed between the two warring parties leading to the formation of ZANU (PF). Joshua Nkomo was made Vice-President, while some senior Ndebele politicians were given ministerial posts (Sibanda, 2005). Nonetheless, since the signing of the unity accord, the Matabeleland region appears to have been marginalized and discriminated in terms of development by the central Zimbabwean government. Thank you @gavvet

I like your posts! Thank you!

Thanks for the information! I will talk about this subject with my business partners today at our once-a-month meeting!

Hi, brother @gavvet , how are you? I hope you are fine
Although the alerts today are not working on the site but I like to browse your page and read about what you write
Thank you for writing history and also writing the history of the continent of Africa to which I wish this great honor
Despite the occupation, the country has a lot to do with the countries of Africa, but currently there is no such thing as colonialism, but in a different way, such as intellectual colonization and colonization, which is drawing the countries of Africa now, with regret, such as the division of Sudan into two states, Sudan and South Africa, and the gangs and mercenaries. Africa
When we wake up in one dream: the advancement of Africa, the greatest continent and the greatest countries, it is the road of Relaas Saleh. Africa is the first continent of the world. It is a waste of history, culture and culture.
(Thanks for my support and thank you sons of the continent of Africa and thank you for them)
شكر لك اخى

Very interesting after we pulled out of Angola it all went down hill from there , Africa as a whole is a slow dying continent until all the riches is mind up ... and or the corrupt governments removed ...


Wonder who installed those corrupt governments...

post is really nice .upvoted
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Really interesting! I'm a total Cold War nerd and especially love learning about these lesser-known conflicts. One question: where are your quotes from?
Have upped and followed, would love some feedback on my post too.


There's a bunch of great (and not so great) books on the Rhodesian Bush War and the SA Border War/Angola in tbe Kindle Store. You'll see Kissinger gets a mention more than once. And there's whispers of British Intelligence. Crazy era.

the history of africa is just enormous. thank you for the information. i keep learning more and more about parts of africa

Excellent article,even better upvotes :)

I hope cold war won't affect Nigeria? Because i still need more explanation on it.

I love history and this just fed my brain. Thanks. Nice profile caption by the way. Cheers!

It is an interesting articles. I just followed !

Really good info! Hadn´t ever heard of this war

I want to help Africa escape tyranny and stuff from certain dictators and such....
Did the French do bad things too in Africa?


You have to ask? Yes. They were one of the worst, most of the suffering of blacks today can be linked back to the French. Napoleon in particular did a lot of damage after black slaves in Haiti humiliated him and his 60,000 soldiers.

He took it out on any blacks he ran across for the rest of his life.

The British were the only ones who at least managed to show some humanity.


African countries need even more freedoms.


Yes. At the end of the day, it's up to each culture to create the civilization they want. Human history is filled with stories of conquerors most of whom were brutal.

It wouldn't be fair to blame all the struggles in Africa today on European colonization. I'd say 25 percent European neo-colonization, 25 percent indifference of western citizens, 25 percent corrupt African leaders, and 25 percent the unwillingness of African citizens to take control of their destiny.

Amazing post! We have forgotten a lot of history that people should know...

Very Interesting topic, thanks for sharing it with us

Thank you @gavvet, highly appreciated your post. Who do you believe is the main strategist & mastermind behind this tearful disassembly of Southern Africa?

I like your post
thank you

Why always the minority become a victim .., the leader of the ruling state must move in this .., greetings world peace .. follow me @muhammadikbal

Why always the minority become a victim .., the leader of the ruling state must move in this .., greetings world peace .. follow me @muhammadikbal

Congratulations @gavvet!
Your post was mentioned in my hit parade in the following category:

  • Upvotes - Ranked 10 with 395 upvotes

This is very educational . You are basically my steemit history teacher haha

like post, Somehow I really like posting great people like you

I love to hear about my continent Africa. I'm proud to be an African follow me for more on ancient and modern artworks @honart

thanks. it made me wonder what happend to africa. white people leave the africans alone, but it was more complicated.

so i watched the serie all in one watching to learn more about africa and now i understand it is a complicated history.

Great post! Follow You > follow me :)
Greetings from Poland - deazydee