In Rhodesia the morale of the dominant white minority is reported very low as the worsening security situation threatens the collapse of the interim coalition government.
In Rhodesia the morale of the dominant white minority is reported very low as the worsening security situation threatens the collapse of the interim coalition government. Yet on the surface life in the capital, Salisbury, goes on as normal.
SYNOPSIS: The visitor to Salisbury looks at what appears to be one of Africa's most serene cities. Jacarandas, acacias, palm trees and handsome conifers give Cecil Square in the heart of the city an air of peace and tranquillity -- almost incredible in land racked by a vicious war and bloodied by massacres which have appalled the world.
In London and Washington there is talk of emergency measures to airlift whites and even blacks should the guerrilla war escalate into the dreaded nationwide bloodbath. In the capital of Rhodesia - whatever the people feel - the picture is life as usual. Economic sanctions appear to bite no harder today than they did when introduced in 1968, to force the white colonialists to accept black majority rule. Luxury goods are available - at a price - and however much their fellows may suffer elsewhere in Rhodesia, in Salisbury white residents have no serious shortages to complain of.
Petrol is rationed, but all city residents are entitled to their share. In fact cars here are more numerous and more modern than in many another African capital. There is a steady exodus of whites preferring the relative security of South Africa, but fewer today than six months ago. A quarter of a million remain, despite six-months-a-year military service for all males between 18 and 50 years old, and the inevitable approach of black majority rule, starting in a matter of months.
Other Rhodesian cities are virtually garrison towns. In Salisbury there is little evidence of an army on constant alert. Soldiers on the street are rare, army vehicles rare, no aircraft or helicopters patrol the city sky.
Salisbury remains an outpost of white order and white - mainly British institutions. To the parents of many of these children the black nationalist threat to white domination remain an "emergency" which will go away or be settled and leave their investments in the country secure.
But last month the guerrilla war entered Salisbury itself. Three people died in a shootout between black nationalists and security forces. If they feel the mounting tension, the white residents of Salisbury refuse to let it show. They remain dedicated to a way of life they have enjoyed here for most of a century, and they show little sign of being ready to give it up.