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Bridge Books

White Liberals, Moderates, and Radicals in Rhodesia 1953–1980, by Ian Hancock

White Liberals, Moderates, and Radicals in Rhodesia 1953–1980, by Ian Hancock

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Despite its apparent unity in the face of the nationalist challenge and the guerrilla war, Rhodesia's White community was divided in the 1960s and 1970s over the question of the pace and direction of Africa's advancement. There were three political standpoints: the right who were uncompromising segregationists and supremacists; the middle-of-the-road who accepted the need for minor reforms but who basically wanted to retain White political power for as long as possible; and the left who were sympathetic to African aspirations and wanted to create a non-racial society which accorded equal rights to all civilised men.

This book examines the history of the left from its emergence as an identifiable entity at the time of the Central African Federation in 1953 until Zimbabwe's independence in 1980. It sets out to make three points: that, contrary to prevailing academic assumptions, the left presented the White electorate with a meaningful choice between undiluted White supremacy and a non-racial meritocracy; that the basic instinct was enlightened self-interest, a blend of altruism, a desire to preserve a pleasant lifestyle and a better understanding of political realities; and that the left's failure may in part be attributed to a loss of credibility deriving from its own ambivalence, confusion, and internal divisions.

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