White People In Zimbabwe
White Zimbabweans (also referred to as white Rhodesians, or even simply as Rhodesians) are people from the southern African country Zimbabwe who identify themselves as white. In linguistic, cultural and historical terms, these Zimbabweans of European ethnic origin are divided between the English-speaking Anglo-African descendants of British and Irish settlers, the Afrikaans-speaking descendants of Afrikaners from South Africa, and those descended from Greek and Portuguese settlers.
A small number of people of European ethnicity first came to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) as settlers during the late nineteenth century. A steady immigration of white people followed after the end of the Second World War, and to avoid the immediate introduction of black African rule (commonly referred to at the time as the Wind of Change), the self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia issued the Unilateral Declaration of Independence and became the de facto independent—albeit unrecognised—state of Rhodesia.
As was the case (to varying degrees) in most European colonies in Africa and Asia, white immigrants took a privileged position in many areas of society. However, the position in Rhodesia was distinguished by the fact that the local settler minority entrenched its political, economic and social dominance of the country. Extensive areas of prime farmland were owned by whites. Senior positions in the public services were reserved for whites, and whites working in manual occupations enjoyed legal protection against job competition from black Africans. As time passed, this situation became increasingly unwelcome to the majority ethnic groups within the country and also to wide sections of international opinion, leading to the Rhodesian Bush War and eventually the Lancaster House Agreement.
After the country's reconstitution as Zimbabwe in 1980, whites had to adjust to being an ethnic minority in a country with a Black African government. Some white citizens emigrated in the early 1980s, regretting the loss of their rights and being uncertain about their future, although a significant number remained. Political unrest and the illegal seizure of many white-owned commercial farms resulted in a further exodus commencing in 1999. The 2002 census recorded 46,743 whites remaining in Zimbabwe. More than 10,000 were elderly and fewer than 9,000 were under the age of 15.
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