INTRODUCTION: Zimbabwe, the former Rhodesia, celebrated its first year of independence on Saturday (18 April).
GV & PAN Guard of honour watched by newsmen at Rufaro stadium in Salisbury
SV Mugabe arriving and walking up dais
SV Banana arriving and walking up dais
SV Banana lights "independence" flame and walks away
CU & PULL BACK Flame burning. Guard in background
SV & GV Banana making anniversary address
LV & PULL BACK Guard of honour with crowd in background
SV Guard marching out of stadium
SV Guard marching past Banana and Mugabe
GV Tribal dancer
GV & PAN White Zimbabweans beside Lake Macilwaine
SV ZOOM INTO CU People cooking steaks at barbecue
GV Whites on lakeside (2 shots)
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT)
SEQ. 6: BANANA: "To all Zimbabweans inside and outside our borders, I want to take this opportunity to wish you all merry festivals on the occasion of our first anniversary of national independence. Above all, credit must go to all zimbabweans of different races and ethnic groups for their determination and willingness to live together in peace and unity."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Zimbabwe, the former Rhodesia, celebrated its first year of independence on Saturday (18 April). It had been a turbulent but hopeful year for the country's 7.2 million inhabitants. Although more than 400 people were killed in political violence, the economy has moved into credit for the first time in years, and international confidence has returned. Prime Minister Robert Mugabe has had the difficult task of meeting black expectations and soothing white disquiet about the transference of political power. He has also extended an olive branch to Pretoria after South Africa cancelled a preferential trade agreement between the two countries recently. Celebrations were generally low-key. The focus of the anniversary was Salisbury's Rufaro Stadium. It was here, on 17 April a year ago, that the British Union Jack was furled for the last time and Zimbabwe, conceived during a seven-year war, was born.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands packed the stadium. Mr. Mugabe and President Canaan Banana reviewed a guard of honour. Zimbabwe's first year has seen something of an economic boom, with foreign companies willing to invest, but it has also been a year of strain. There are the pressures of the black majority whose expectations outstripped the capacity for change, and some of the 200,000 whites retain their suspicions of black rule.
But experts say Mr. Mugabe has displayed a deft political touch. His underlying desire for post-war reconciliation has prevented military unrest from spreading into an often-predicted civil war. The smoothing of relations was a theme taken up by President Banana in his anniversary speech. The President praised politicians for seeking unity to defuse political tensions which some had predicted would erupt. He was speaking after lighting a special 'independence" flame in the stadium.
In contrast to Mr. Mugabe's recent moderation on South Africa, the President condemned Pretoria for apartheid. He said South Africa had consistently denied the people of Namibia (South West Africa) their right to self-determination and sovereignty.
Apart from the Rufaro stadium celebrations, the anniversary was generally low-key. Few foreign dignatories were invited, and hotel bars were closed. Towns and cities were decked with bunting, but most people spent the day quietly. The holiday resorts were crowded.
Many whites chose to relax by Lake Macilwaine. Last year, more than 17,000 whites left Zimbabwe -- many of these were skilled artisans difficult to replace. But, as the economy improves, many have elected to remain, including the white farmers who grow most of the country's food.
International confidence has returned. At a recent donors' conference, pledges of 1.4 billion dollars in foreign aid were made.