The colonization of Zimbabwe by Britain from the late 19th through the mid-20th centuries propagated Protestant Christianity with varying degrees of acceptance due to native recalcitrance, but British colonizers inadvertently instituted patriarchy in addition to establishing an environment for an increasingly authoritarian political party, which engenders ethnic tension and xenophobia, to dominate. The Shona and the Ndebele, the primary ethnic groups of Zimbabwe, both adopted and rejected Protestant Christianity as a form of opposing foreign hegemony. By primarily confronting males and conscripting them to labor, the British exalted the significance of males in relation to Shona and Ndebele social structures, which continues to resonate in black nationalism and in the HIV/AIDS crisis. In a gradual British-enforced concession of white minority rule to popular sovereignty, the predominantly Shona Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and its leader, Robert Mugabe, consolidated an initial political presence through socialist, black nationalist, and anti-Ndebele stances, but assumed complete control in what became a superficial representative democracy via British appeasement, regional indolence, and corruption.
Relevant Historical/Geographic Context
I. Facilitated by native disarray, the British South Africa Company (BSAC) settled Zimbabwe, which resulted in the subjugation of blacks only truncated by black nationalist and British pressure.