It's hard to imagine that Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) was once seen as the land of hope and prosperity. People streamed into the country to take advantage of the fertile land and mild climate. It really was the modern day Utopia. Unfortunately, the reality of the matter is that this was a country built up on racism and right-wing ideals and scores of people were kept in conditions of poverty and disenfranchisement in order to bolster the more than comfortable lifestyles of the Haves.
It had to end. In fact, it was a situation waiting to erupt and erupt it did in the form of the Bush War. But how did a (successful) fight for freedom lead to the political violence and ethnic cleansing that are happening today? Zimbabwe has becomes one of the poorest countries in the world and people are starving in this supposed land of milk and honey. In 1991, the Zimbabwe Dollar was almost 1-to-1 with the South African Rand. Today, Zim$1,000,000.00 gets you about R260.00 which gets you approximately two compact discs. Well, you'd need 50 times that in order to buy a loaf of bread according to this article.
Did all of that happen because of the cruelty of the right wing settler farmers? Did it happen as the male working class was obliterated in the Bush War? Or is a particularly strong, despotic leader really responsible for the Zimbabwe we all know and love today?
I'll look at Zimbabwe's history briefly from the 17th and then a little more in depth for the 20th and 21st centuries.