This article examines the impact of Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) sanctions on settler agriculture in colonial Zimbabwe between 1965, when UDI was declared, and 1979, when the Internal Settlement agreement ushered in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. Having witnessed a significant rise in the two decades after the Second World War, settler agriculture plummeted in subsequent years. UDI, this articles argues, was a major reversal of fortunes for the white agricultural sector as it opened a new chapter in the colony’s economic and social history characterised by biting international sanctions. A combination of sanctions-induced fuel shortages, loss of markets because of embargoes on Rhodesian products, falling international commodity prices, inability of government to continue to support agriculture at pre-UDI levels, African armed conflict, compulsory military “call-up”, and insecurity in the countryside delivered a heavy blow not only to settler agriculture but also other sectors of the colonial economy. This article argues that UDI sanctions, which forced the Rhodesian economy to operate under austerity, triggered a decline in the settler agricultural sector and reduced a significant proportion of the white farming community to a position where a combination of insecurity and the prospect of subsisting on “mud pies” for food and “Msasa leaves” for clothes became a terrifying possibility. Hardship and insecurity prompted a significant number of disaffected settler farmers to trek to other countries, particularly South Africa, for greener pastures from 1976 onwards.
"Mud Pies and Msasa [Tree] Leaves: The Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI), International Sanctions and Settler Agriculture in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1965-1979,"
Zambia Social Science Journal: Vol. 5
, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/zssj/vol5/iss2/3