One of the highlights of Rhodesian social life -- and a good barometer of the nation's economic position -- is the annual Salisbury show.
One of the highlights of Rhodesian social life -- and a good barometer of the nation's economic position -- is the annual Salisbury show. It began life in Rhodesia's early history as the agricultural show, and gradually became one of the biggest events on the Rhodesian calender -- encompassing industry, the armed forces, commerce, entertainments, education and communications, and other aspects of the nation's life.
SYNOPSIS: To the casual observer this year's show -- reflecting as usual Rhodesia's African heritage -- may have seemed much the same as ever. The format hasn't changed much over the years, despite the increasing severity of the guerrilla war -- now concentrated along the eight-hundred-mile (1,300-kilometre) border with Mozambique. But the war has tied up manpower and money. Added to the increasingly debilitating effect of international sanctions against Rhodesia, is the monthly exodus of much-needed whites.
It was noticeable this year that few of the men present at the show were of military age. And the only so-called 'international' pavilion -- the show could boast dozens before UDI -- was that of South Africa. The Prime Minister, Mr. Ian Smith, visited the show unannounced, with a minimum of protocol on display.
This year, crowds kept at a polite distance -- the absence of the usual public acclamation of 'good old Smithy' was noticeably absent. His first calls were on the stands run by Rhodesian security forces. To reporters, he denied there was anything wrong with the show -- or Rhodesia itself.