Zimbabwe gained independance from British rule on April 18, 1980. The struggle for independance started in 1953 when Zimbabwe (which was then Rhodesia) became a part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The African National Congress was formed for the purpose of aiding African countries to free themselves from European rule. Unfortunately, the Congress, which was led by Joshua Nkomo, was banned in 1959. However, in 1961 Nkomo formed the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU). In 1962, ZAPU was also banned. 1963 saw the demand from northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland for the dissolution of the federation. In the same year the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) was created. This opposition group was led by Robert Mugabe. In 1964, the New Rhodesian Front (RF) prime minister (Ian Smith) rejected British demands for majority rule and bans ZANU. One of the primary reasons for the rejection of the idea of majority rule was because the RF was ruled by the minority white population and in 1964 Ian Smith tries to convince Great Britian to grant independence to Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) under white minority rule. This move caused widespread international outrage and brought on the economic sanctions from many countries. Guerrila warfare led by ZANU and ZAPU against the RF and white rule broke out in 1972. The Rhodesian Front regime and the African nationalists came to a cease-fire in 1974. Between the years of 1975 and 1979, negotiations between the African nationalists (the Zanu and Zapu groups), Rhodesian Front and the British government occured. In 1976 ZAPU and ZANU combined and formed the Patriotic Front (PF). The PF was supported by Mozambique, Tanzania, Botswana and Zambia in 1977. In the year 1979, the PF rejects a settlement set forth by the Rhodesian Front and moderate nationalists. Independance finally came in 1980 with Robert Mugabe becoming leader of the ZAPU-PF/ZANU-PF coalition.

Joshua Nkomo