Godfrey Martin Huggins

(1883—1971) prime minister of Southern Rhodesia

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(b. 6 July 1883, d. 8 May 1971). Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia 1933–53, Central African Federation 1953–6 Born in Kent (England), he studied medicine and joined a medical partnership in the Rhodesian capital of Salisbury in 1911. Elected to the Southern Rhodesian Legislative Assembly in 1924, he left the ruling Rhodesia Party in 1931 and in 1932 became leader of the Reform Party, which in 1933 merged with sections of the Rhodesia Party to form the United Party. An admirer of Smuts, Huggins advocated the ‘two-pyramids system’, a modified system of racial segregation which allowed Blacks self-administration for sanitation and education in their segregated reserves. He came to realize that the system became untenable as economic progress created an increasingly complex and interwoven economy and society, which led to the creation, for example, of a Black middle class. His increasing moderation was bitterly opposed by the White conservatives within and outside his party. He pushed for a union with Nyasaland (Malawi) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) in order to create a stable economy balanced by agriculture and mining. This was to provide an imperial ‘bastion’ against the growth of Afrikaner nationalism in South Africa, and of Black African independence movements in western Africa. He finally managed to persuade the British government to create the Central African Federation, whose Prime Minister he became until his retirement to his farm near Salisbury (now Harare).

From A Dictionary of Contemporary World History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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