The recent deaths of nine members of the African Methodist Episcopal church in downtown Charlston, South Carolina at the hands of Dylan Roof reminds us of the legacy of Rhodesia. A name Mr. Roof used as his website (ThelastRhodesian) and a name that he seems to have drawn gravitas from. From this Mr. Roof acquired a rudimentary education in intolerance and metered or measured violence. A violence that naturally comes with the name Rhodesia itself. Behind the mere mention of that name is a history steeped in racial warfare that has become immortalized in the verse, ‘Rhodesians never die.’The killings motivated by racist stereotypes of the black and the African. A suggestion that the African/black person is inferior and yet insists on equality; much to the bewilderment of the Rhodesian.

Rhodesia, is so called, the former name of Zimbabwe named after an English Imperialist by the name of Cecil John Rhodes. Mr Rhodes arrived in Capetown South Africa with an assortment of theories on race relations and the English. He is famous for saying being English is equivalent to winning first place in the lottery of life. Rhodes, a born imperialist who had the means to execute his mission... But who also had a deep desire to be native. This acronym for Rhodes's country is still used today for some crack-pot, fly under the radar military operations - bloody Rhodesia, they call them.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Back in South Carolina, Rhodesia's history is relevant because if Mr. Roof had been properly informed that his stereotypes of black people and Africans, are in fact the character of the founder of Rhodesia himself - Cecil John Rhodes. Then the stereotypes - slick and cunning - might not have formed so concretely in such a young and innocent mind. All these tactics of approaching Africans or black people as a friend only to ambush them in the midst of bible study were Mr. Rhodes’s stock and trade. This flagrant abuse of friendship, trust and communal worship, pretending to be in the pursuit of the word of God, were Rhodes's modus operandi.

The method of Mr. Roof's premeditated killing is tactically speaking Rhodesia (bloody Rhodesia). White youths must be educated to understand what terms like 'Rhodesia,' connote and not made to think racism is white history.  White history is rich with worthy inventions, history, legend and myth. As we have seen in the writings, among others, of J.R.R Tolkein in Lord of the Rings. We have seen the contribution of white people to our common civilization. It does not need to be racist for it to be really considered white. For too long some white people equated their culture with their politics - this is not so, culture may be influenced by politics but it is not static. There has to be something at the root of White people besides a feeling of superiority espoused at any given political era.

An example of the character of Mr. Rhodes can be seen in how this name Rhodesia came about. Moving Northwards into the land now known as Zimbabwe he adopted an even more sinister approach. He colonized South Africa through a combination of forgery and misrepresentations to the Queen arguing that his conquests would be in her name - why then did be not name his conquered land Rhodesia and not British South Africa since he was the agent of the Crown? The then King of the Matebele Mzilikazi, was made to first relinquish mining rights to the British South African Company, then more mineral rights. Until the whole country was subject to one big mineral right claim or prospection. This exaggerated mineral right by his private prospecting company was then backed up by armed mercenaries willing to kill with Rhodes acting as commander-in-chief. This is what Rhodesia means. It does not mean nobility or Christianity. It communicates a desire to destroy others and rob them of their God; to annihilate them so that they no longer have relevancy. It is the stuff Erik Erickson, the pyschoanalyst, says is a desire for mass suicide born from an identity crisis. And as Mr. Roof has so brilliantly illustrated by example, - the meaning of Rhodesia is still the same as it was in 1895 when Mr. Rhodes ran with it. Rhodesia and Rhodes are one and the same thing: fire comes from wood that is lit.

And if irony is not lost, Mr. Rhodes, the imperialist icon he wanted to be, is buried in native land in Zimbabwe - which he insisted in his will was a, “view to the world." When he first arrived from England, he had a different location as a 'view to the world' ...England. Mr. Rhodes, a man of tremendous contradictions and racism. Whose shadow from his grave in Matopo Zimbabwe still casts a dim shadow over African people - as he once imagined it would.

To this very day Great Britain are too ashamed to ask for his dead remains given what Mr. Rhodes evokes; even for the English, the most base and hateful interpretation of the slogan —— the sun never set on the British Empire. Africans and black people need their own heroes and Britain must reclaim its lost heroes as well, no matter how unpopular those heroes might be with the current populace. This act of reconciliation would heal old wounds and give final closure to a dark chapter in British history, making it harder for people like Mr. Roof and other followers of neo-Nazi ideas to idolize Rhodesia. 

Ken Sibanda is an American Constitutional Lawyer, born in Transkei South Africa. The author of numerous works, including the graphic novel -
Hannibal the Great. Affectionally known as Tecumseh for his contribution to law and literature in South Africa.
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

Think others should know about this? Please share