This timeline is a companion piece to the upcoming POV broadcast of "Mugabe and the White African", which will premiere on PBS in 2011.
Created by pov on Jan 18, 2011
Last updated: 07/13/11 at 04:03 PM
Commercial farmers find themselves under a new wave of attacks from the government. Farm workers are hit hardest, as they lack skills and money to change to different occupations. Video: YouTube: "White Zimbabweans struggle with life after farming" by AFPTV
Tsvangirai is sworn in as prime minister. Tsvangirai travels to the United States and Europe to encourage international economic support for Zimbabwe. European and U.S. delegations arrive in Zimbabwe. Mugabe calls for a renewal of relations with the West. The ban on foreign journalists is relaxed, and three independent newspapers are reinstated. However, journalists continue to be arrested, tortured and tried for undermining Mugabe’s authority. Video: YouTube: "Tsvangirai on power sharing" by KTN
The ruling from the SADC tribunal finds Mugabe’s land program to be discriminatory based on race. Mugabe disregards the ruling. Approximately 60,000 farm workers are forced to seek new shelters. Image: "Brendan Fox, a white landholder, watches as his personal goods are loaded onto a truck and removed from his farm." Credit: Gideon Mendel / Corbis. Time Magazine: Photo Essays: The Reign of Robert Mugabe
Mike Campbell (the central figure in Mugabe and the White African) brings Mugabe to trial before the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
A national emergency is declared due to a cholera outbreak and the collapse of the healthcare system. Mugabe blames cholera on white Westerners. Mugabe is quoted as telling crowds that the cholera was brought by “former colonial masters intent on war” and is not the result of his country’s dismal economic status. Image: "Supporters of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe hold placards protesting against Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, during the burial of Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF political commissar Elliot Manyika." Credit: Philimon Bulawayo-Reuters. The Washington Post Photo Gallery: Humanitarian Crisis Deepens in Zimbabwe
Video: YouTube: Zimbabwe's Cholera Outbreak on VOA's In Focus by TV2AFRICA
Tsvangirai beats Mugabe in the presidential election. A runoff is called, and Mugabe wins. Tsvangirai drops out days before the poll, claiming state-sponsored violence has pushed him out of the race. Months later, Mugabe and Tsvangirai agree to a power-sharing agreement. Mugabe remains president and Tsvangirai becomes prime minister. Image: Diagram of Zimbabwe's power-sharing deal. Credit: BBC News: Zimbabwe's uneasy balancing act
Mugabe backtracks on his postponement of presidential elections, stating that a 2008 election is “preferable.”
Mugabe’s ruling party (by then merged with ZAPU to form the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF) delays presidential elections for two years, from 2008 to 2010.
Under a program to “clean up” Zimbabwe, thousands of shanty dwellings and illegal street stalls are torn down. It is estimated that 700,000 people become homeless. Image: "Before and after images show shanty town clearance in a suburb of Harare." Credit: Digital Globe. BBC News: What lies behind the Zimbabwe demolitions? Video: YouTube: AFP
The Tribune newspaper is closed down.
The Weekly Times newspaper is closed down.
The Zimbabwe Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday are shut down.
Morgan Tsvangirai is charged with treason over an alleged plot to kill Mugabe. Tsvangirai is later acquitted of all charges in October 2004. Image: Morgan Tsvangirai Credit: AFP: Gianluigi Guercia. ABC News: Zimbabwe to vote in presidential run-off
Mugabe is re-elected. The opposition contends that the election was rigged and was stolen from the leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai. Food shortages add to the threat of famine hanging over the country. Many white landowners are forced to leave their land under the terms of a land acquisition act. Image: "During the last ten years, Zimbabwe's agricultural production has plummeted. Once the 'bread basket' of Africa, it now depends on food programs and support from outside to feed itself." Credit: Gideon Mendel / Corbis. Time Magazine Photo Essays: The Reign of Robert Mugabe
In an unprecedented move, the European Union imposes sanctions against members of Zimbabwe’s ruling elite, including travel bans and a freeze on assets on Mugabe and 19 other senior officials. The sanctions come after the head of a group of election observers is expelled from Zimbabwe by Mugabe in early February.
Mugabe’s cabinet pushes the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy bill through the Zimbabwe Congress before the 2002 election. The law effectively bans foreign journalists from reporting in Zimbabwe and imposes new rules on local journalists, barring them from working for foreign newspapers and forbidding them from reporting news that causes “alarm and despondency.” The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists calls the bill “ridiculous and unacceptable.”
The government and squatters seize land owned by white farmers, claiming that the land was originally stolen by white settlers. Large portions of the reclaimed land are given to inexperienced, novice farmers, leading to what some call an “economic freefall.”
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is formed.
Economic crisis hits Zimbabwe as inflation rises, inciting riots and strikes. Image: Man holds up sign with Zimbabwe's egregiously inflated currency. Credit: Jules Maaten Liberate the Mind: The Zimbabwe Dilemma
Of 162,000 families, 71,000 families resettle on approximately 3.5 million hectares of land, most of which is unsuitable for grazing or cultivation. About 400 elite black farmers lease 400,000 hectares of state land, and about 350 black farmers buy their farms. Mugabe announces that he will seize an additional 1,500 farms and says the British should pay for them. The British respond that the cost of land reform is not their responsibility. Image: "In this photo, pro-Mugabe militants sing revolutionary songs outside the electric fence of a white farmer's homestead."
Mugabe is re-elected again. Two opponents withdraw one week before the election. Image: President Robert Mugabe. Credit: Ulutuncok / Laif / Corbis. Time Magazine Photo Essay: The Reign of Robert Mugabe
The government enacts the Land Acquisition Act. This act strengthens the power of the government to acquire land for resettlement. The government is required to provide “fair” compensation for the land it acquires. Image: "Fighting in the fields: Deon Theron feeding one of his remaining cows, which he has had to move onto to his mother's farm, as his three farms have been taken over." Credit: The Irish Times, Zimbabwe's law of the land
Only 54 percent of the 4.8 million eligible voters go to the polls for elections, which sharply contrasts with the 95 percent turnout in previous elections. Mugabe is re-elected. The Lancaster House Agreement expires. Image: Younger Robert Mugabe. Credit: AP. Time Magazine Photo Essays: The Reign of Robert Mugabe
Mugabe changes Zimbabwe’s constitution, making himself president and moving toward one-party rule. Image: Robert Mugabe. Credit: Reuters Daily Mail Online: World News
The government sends troops into the Midland and Matabeleland provinces due to growing political dissent. Thousands of people are killed in the mid-1980s. Image: 1: Mashonaland West 2: Mashonaland Central 3: Mashonaland East 4: Manicaland 5: Masvingo 6: Midlands 7: Matabeleland South 8: Matabeleland North Credit: BBC News. Zimbabwe votes: At a glance: Zimbabwe's Regions
Canaan Banana becomes the first president of Zimbabwe. Robert G. Mugabe, member of the ZANU party, is elected prime minister. Mugabe is seen as a liberation hero. Southern Rhodesia becomes Zimbabwe, and its independence is internationally recognized. Image: Robert G. Mugabe (left) and Canaan Banana (right. Credit: William Campbell/Sygma/Corbis. Corbis Images Archive Video: YouTube: WINDS OF CHANGE Series, Produced by Memories of Rhodesia
The Lancaster House Agreement requires the new government to protect the land of white farm owners for 10 years following independence. Zimbabwe receives 44 million pounds to resettle the land. Image: Bishop Abel Muzorewa seated next to British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington signs the Lancaster House Agreement. Credit: The Right Perspective: Zim Bishop Abel Muzorewa Passes
Peace agreement talks in London broker a new constitution.
Smith yields to international pressure and retracts the UDI. A new government is put in place under Bishop Abel Muzorewa but fails to gain recognition. Civil war continues. Image: Time cover November 5, 1965. Credit: Boris Chaliapin Time Archive: Ian Smith Video: YouTube: Firing Line with William F. Buckley, recorded in 1978
Neighboring countries Mozambique and Angola gain independence. Image: Dates of African countries' independence. Credit: Michigan State University. Exploring Africa: Unit Two: Studying Africa through the Social Studies
Guerrilla warfare campaigns against white rule by the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) intensify. Image: "Joshua N'Komo (far left) as ZIPRA (ZAPU) commander in chief in 1977. In the center a ZIPRA (ZAPU) 'Regular',1978 circa. A Chinese trained ZANLA (ZANU) Guerrilla." Credit: T.A.L. Dozer. T.A.L. Dozer's The Selous Scout website: Guerrillas and Regulars
Prime Minister Ian Smith passes a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from the United Kingdom after earning an overwhelming number of votes for the move from the Southern Rhodesia government. Britain and the United Nations declare Smith’s actions illegal, impose sanctions and try to force Smith to revoke the UDI and accept black majority rule. Image: The Rhodesia Herald of November 12, 1965 Credit: None but ourselves : masses vs. media in the making of Zimbabwe / Julie Frederikse / with photographs by Biddy Partridge. Ravan Press, 1982. Zimbabwe in Pictures- On this day: Ian Smith goes it alone
Ian Smith of the Rhodesian Front (RF), a political party that opposed black majority rule, becomes prime minister and attempts to persuade Britain to grant Southern Rhodesia independence. Image: Ian Smith. Credit: AFP/Getty Images file/1966. The Boston Globe: Obituaries: Ian Smith
Under the Industrial Conciliation Act of 1934, Africans are not defined as employees and therefore cannot organize to determine their own working conditions. White workers are considered employees, and therefore can unionize and bargain over wages. On average, a white worker earns 10 times as much as an African.
The Land Appointment Act denies land ownership to Africans and simultaneously forces Africans to work the land. Image: Tobacco Plantation in South Rhodesia (1926-1934). Credit: Mary Lawrance. Digital Librarian: Gardening
Rule under the BSAC ends in Southern Rhodesia. The white minority chooses to be self-governing in the area rather than join the Union of South Africa. Image: Southern Rhodesia currency. 1 Pound 1950. Credit: Mark Schiffer. Ron Wise's Banknoteworld: Rhodesia
The growth of the European immigrant community in the future capital Harare leads to violent conflict between the settlers and the native Ndebele people. The BSAC defeats the Ndebele. European immigration continues.Image: BSAC Seal. Credit: Bruce Berry. Flags of the World: BSAC seal
The British South Africa Company (BSAC), led by Cecil Rhodes, attains a concession for gold mining, which leads to colonization of the land that was under Ndebele rule. The name Southern Rhodesia is adopted for the region.
Image: Cecil Rhodes
Credit: Photo by Baldwin H. Ward and Kathryn C. Ward/Corbis. The New York TImes' Books of The Times: "A Scramble for Power and Treasure in South Africa"
The Mutapa Empire (also known as Monomotapa) rises to prominence in the 13th and 14th centuries and declines in the 17th century. Noted for international trade and gold mining, the Mutapa Empire constructs the Great Zimbabwe, a city (now in ruins) that will be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 20th century.Image: Geographical map of Zimbabwe Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Heilbrunn, Timeline of Art History