Rhodesia has been claiming new world attention since U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger took a hard line against its minority white government while he was in Africa last month. Nationalist elements have said there can be no settlement short of war. The government has now added four black men to the cabinet. In the midst of these developments, Christians scheduled a national congress on evangelism this month. The following report on the Rhodesian situation was provided by Donald K. Smith of Daystar Communications, now headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. He has been a missionary in Africa nearly twenty-five years, living some of that time in Rhodesia.
Behind the current Rhodesian conflict is fear of the future. Both black Africans and white Rhodesians agree that the central issue is “protecting our future,” but they can’t agree on who can be trusted with control of that future. Christians are on both sides of the issue. On a Sunday afternoon a visitor was told by his white hosts, “We don’t care who governs the country, white or black. We simply want to insure the future of our children.” The visitor was told less than two hours later by his black African hosts for the evening, “We don’t just want black rule. We want to be sure our children have a future.”
The whites are a tiny minority within Rhodesia: 278,000 against an African population of 6,110,000, a ratio of 1 to 22. The whites are steadily becoming a smaller percentage of the population, decreasing from 5.8 per cent in 1965, when they declared independence under white rule, to 4.4 per cent today. Both white emigration and a higher African birthrate contribute to this.
White skills coupled with African labor have given all segments of the population the second highest ...1
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