Messy Legacy of the Scamble for Africa

Thursday 29th October 1936

The white settlers in Northern Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe – were beginning to push for a measure of control of their areas, rather than merely being administered from London. Boundaries and politics in the region were the legacy of the confused final stage of the “scramble for Africa” in which Cecil Rhodes’s British South African Company had become a short-lived state-within-a-state. The area had passed under direct Imperial control in 1924, but there was nothing approaching an entity that could have attained Dominion status.

The settler leader Colonel Stewart Gore-Browne proposed a federal structure, which would split the central region which included the bulk of the white population, farming areas, railways and the mines from the other regions, which had changed little since before colonisation. Gore-Brown was looking towards closer collaboration with the settlers in Zambia across the Zambezi River. The Colonial authorities were sceptical and the anomalies and ambiguities were allowed to persist until UDI in 1965.


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