Exploring the history and experiences of mixed heritage persons and inter-racial relationships across the world


Zimbabwe MapThe mixed race or as they are known the 'Coloured' population in Zimbabwe is very small - making up only half of a percent of the population, the majority located in the main urban centres.  Many Coloureds have emigrated over the past decade or so and especially as the economy in Zimbabwe collapsed, with sizeable immigrant populations in the UK, Canada and Australia.  Apart from the UK, the fact that many of them were experienced tradesmen, due to the limited employment opportunities in the past, assisted in making immigration a little easier than it was for the many of the indigenous African Zimbabwean.  The UK's 'one drop' mentality and reduced need for tradesmen made the immigration experiences for all non-white Zimbabweans very similar despite the fact that the vast majority of coloured people are descendants of British citizens.  Amongst the Zimbabweans there is a belief that white Zimbabweans, especially after independence and after the farm invasions, were granted legal immigrant status in the UK quite easily.

A distinct coloured community arose after the unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) from the United Kingdom.  The European minority in what was the settler colony of Rhodesia at the time had been worried by the trend of black majority rule independence that was sweeping across Africa.  By declaring UDI in November, 1965, the Europeans hoped to maintain political and economic control of the country and its rich natural resources.  This control was totally lost after an attempt of indigenous appeasement, with multiracial elections in 1979, on Independence Day in April 1980.

The white minority government maintained a sort of apartheid system of segregating the races with the Coloured and Indians being granted a sort of 2nd class citizenship slightly above the indigenous African.  People involved in inter-racial relationships with mixed race children had to live in designated areas and the children expected to attend schools designated for them.  Whilst this was too much of an issue in the large urban areas of Harare (Salisbury) and Bulawayo, this did cause problems for coloureds in smaller and rural areas that did not have access to coloured schools unless they boarded in big city schools.  Many could not afford that luxury.  Employment wise, certain trades were available to the educated Coloured that were restricted to ingenious Africans but positions of authority remained the privilege of Europeans.  It is these trades of motor mechanics, fitters, turners, electricians and boiler-making for males and teaching, nursing and junior secretarial roles in the civil service and banks for the females that made it easier for the community to immigrate to places like Australia and Canada.

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