|40 Years after Rhodesia's UDI|
To mark the 40 th Anniversary of Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence (on Thursday 11 November 1965), Frontline Fellowship hosted a Pray for Zimbabwe Rally in the Pinelands Town Hall, Cape Town. Friends of the mission were invited to a supper beforehand, where historic film clips of Rhodesia were screened.
The Pray for Zimbabwe Rally was opened with devotions by Rev. Stephen Smyth (ex BSAP). He emphasised the brevity of life, the certainty of death, and the absolute priority of repenting of our sins and returning in faith to Christ for salvation. Rev. Smyth also noted the extraordinary high percentage of people that he knew from Rhodesia who were serving in the ministry today. A large number of Rhodesians are serving with distinction in many areas of life, and many can date their spiritual conversion to the crisis and war in Rhodesia.
Dr. Peter Hammond presented a special slide presentation on The Christian Heritage of Rhodesia, which brought back many memories for most of the guests attending the rally who had once lived in that magnificent country. This was followed by a shocking up-to-date PowerPoint report on the current crisis in Zimbabwe.
After Peter’s presentation, Collen Makumbirofa, of the Foundation of Reason and Justice in Zimbabwe, who had travelled down for this rally, confirmed the seriousness of the catastrophe in Zimbabwe today. Collen described the ZANU-PF government of Zimbabwe as a criminal enterprise, which was involved in a war against the poor, and a war against God. The racist, lawless violence of the Communist government in Zimbabwe had left over a million people homeless, the prisons overflowing and the once productive agricultural farms completely wrecked. Pastors have been arrested for “subversive” prayers, churches have been raided and prayer meetings have been broken up with much violence, some women have been so severely injured by these assaults by Mugabe’s police that they’ve had to be hospitalised. Many thousands of Christians have been tortured and murdered. Collen described what is going on in Zimbabwe as a “genocide.”
“Remember the prisoners as if chained with them – those who are mistreated – since you yourselves are in the body also.” Hebrews 13:3.
Messages were also presented by Demi Dudley (ex BSAP) and Cheryllyn Dudley, MP, who had been part of the parliamentary observer mission to Zimbabwe, and Rev. Bill Bathman, veteran American missionary who travelled extensively in Rhodesia during the war years, closed with a challenge and prayer.
Messages from Mr. Ian Smith (the Prime Minister of Rhodesia), Col. John Redfern, the honourable Secretary of the Flame Lily Foundation, and from Rev. Arthur Lewis, a Church of England missionary who spent many decades serving the people there, sent messages to be read out at the event. These messages from Mr. Smith and Rev. Lewis follow:
Mr. Ian Douglas Smith:
To all the wonderful Rhodesians, where ever you are in the world. We are making a special effort to celebrate the 40 th anniversary of our Independence when we decided to cut our ties with the British government, who had betrayed us in an effort to placate those devious people who were using us for their convenience.
It is an honest & positive fact, supported by world-renowned politicians, that Rhodesians have distinguished themselves in whatever endeavour they have undertaken. This was clearly indicated by the British leaders such as Harold Wilson & Alec Hume who acknowledged the great contribution that Rhodesians made in WW II.
I would ask you to join me in ensuring that we do our utmost to preserve, perpetuate & enhance the Rhodesian Spirit. May it continue forever.
It is useless to say “I told you so” - though of course we did. Kissinger and Carrington got their own way and are directly responsible for the misery of millions in Zimbabwe today. There is One who will judge them, unmoved by the honours showered upon them in this world. The World Council of Churches seems to be doing little to compensate for its folly.
But our job is to face the situation as it now is. What is done cannot be undone, but we can still do something to mitigate the plight of the victims. The Frontline Fellowship and the Rhodesian Christian Group are both striving to bring practical help wherever possible. We depend of course on you, and are deeply grateful for all the prayer and support you give us.
It may seem that it is all a drop in the ocean of need. But it is worth remembering the Chinese proverb: It is better to light a small candle than to curse the dark.
Sincerely yours in Our Lord,
WHAT RHODESIA’S STAND AND SACRIFICES ACHIEVED
In 1976 Ian Anderson of the League of Rhodesia wrote the following: “From Thermopalae (480BC) to Malta (AD1565)…it has often fallen to a small community or people to give a moral examples to its larger and more powerful neighbours…in each case valuable breathing space was gained for other parties to rally to the cause and to complete the task so boldly initiated by faith.
“We in Rhodesia have a very strong sense of national purpose. We feel we have been singled out by Providence to be the stumbling block in the path of Communist aggression. There is yet time for the Western powers to put Rhodesia’s stand in its historical perspective; but they are leaving it dangerously late…”(Rhodesia: Myths and Facts)
In standing firm against Communist aggression for 15 years, Rhodesia indeed won valuable breathing space for the free world. In much the same way as the 300 Spartans held up the enormous invading force of Persians at Thermopalae, and as the courageous knights resisted the Islamic invasion of the small island of Malta, I believe that, in time, history will recognise that the sacrifices and courage of Rhodesians in resisting Communist terrorism contributed to the ultimate collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe in 1989. Had Rhodesia not resisted, the consequences for South Africa could have been absolutely disastrous. Had South Africa fallen to Communism during the Cold War, the strategic Cape sea route and vital minerals essential for Western industry and defence, would have fallen into the hands of the Soviet Union with catastrophic consequences.
The reign of terror and state sponsored terrorism of Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF regime in Zimbabwe have only vindicated Ian Smith’s position. In time it will become even clearer that in no small measure Ronald Reagan’s successful stand against Communist expansion in the 1980’s was made possible by Rhodesia’s stand against Communist terrorism in the 60’s and 70’s.
The history of Rhodesia confirms the disastrous consequences of the unprecedented foreign interference and the rejection of Rhodesia’s internal settlement. Even more seriously, there is a real danger of Mugabe’s example of racist and lawless land invasions example in Zimbabwe being followed in Namibia and South Africa.
The Scripture commands us to care for widows and orphans, to love our neighbours, to remember the prisoner, and to serve our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their faith.
Persistent prayer, publicity and pressure provide protection for the persecuted (Luke 18:1-7). Pray for the Christians suffering in Zimbabwe. Mobilise your congregation and Bible study group to pray, and write to your elected representative to urge decisive political and economic pressure to be brought to bear against the Communist ZANU regime in Zimbabwe. Encourage your church to support missions of mercy to the suffering Christians in Zimbabwe. Phone, fax or write to your nearest Zimbabwe embassy and protest against their racist and lawless policies of oppression.
“Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9
Dr. Peter Hammond