As Rhodesia embarks upon its first-ever multi-racial Government builds up to Black majority rule by the end of this year, the country is experiencing a population explosion....
As Rhodesia embarks upon its first-ever multi-racial Government builds up to Black majority rule by the end of this year, the country is experiencing a population explosion....among the Blacks. As more and more Whites leave, officials estimate that the Black population will have doubled naturally by the end of the century.
SYNOPSIS: A 17-year-old Black girl gives birth to her first child in a Salisbury hospital. It's a fit, healthy, seven pound boy. According to statistics, she'll have another four children....and that's where the problem lies - a problem which the country of Zimbabwe will have to contend with when it is born from White-dominated Rhodesia on December the 31st. At a rough estimate, there are seven million Blacks in Rhodesia today.... and half of them are under the age of nine.
With a birth-rate of 3.6 a year, just feeding the extra mouths is probably one of the most serious problems facing Zimbabwe. For the Blacks, their staple food is "mealies" .... maize. And just to have sufficient, means every African household has its own mealie patch.
Even earning the money to buy food, is difficult. Unemployment among the Blacks is high.... and it's likely to get higher.
The biggest chance of employment for the Blacks comes from farms owned by Whites. This one, owned by John Laurie, provides jobs for some 300 Africans. The wages aren't high...but with the job comes accommodation and medical care. As guerrilla attacks on isolated farm houses have continued, more and more White farmers have actively considered leaving. It's generally accepted that a mass exodus of European farmers would be disastrous for the nation's economy.
For the African seeking a job, industry offers the next highest chance....but most of it is light industry .... and there's not enough of it to come anywhere near offering full employment. At the moment there seems little chance that there will be an injection of more industry into the country when Zimbabwe comes into being.
It's now generally agreed that controlling the ever-increasing Black birth-rate is of vital importance. Birth-control clinics operate in the bush, coping also with the duel problems of prejudice and guerrilla activity.
But while birth control campaigns improve, so too does the medical care offered to the new-born. And even that is posing problems, for that's brought a dramatic downturn in infant mortality rates. From 52 infant deaths in a thousand live births..... the number's now dropped to less than a third of that figure.