Secular holiday : On this day in 1980, Southern-Rhodesia gained independence from the British, changing the name into Zimbabwe (based on a Shona term for Great Zimbabwe , an ancient ruined city in the country's south-east the remains of which are now a protected site).
· The day marked the end of racial segregation.
· In the ninety year span that Zimbabwe was a colony, it was administered by the British South African Company (BSAC) under the name Rhodesia and the Responsible Government under the name Southern Rhodesia. Both administrative systems were under the British monarchy.
· In 1965, Zimbabwe became autonomous and was led by a white segregationist government after Ian Smith made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from Britain. This was after the British government had made majority rule a condition for the independence of Rhodesia from Britain.
· Smith followed the UDI by declaring Rhodesia a Republic, which however, did not have international recognition.
· From June 1979, the Republic of Southern Rhodesia was replaced by Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. Lacking international recognition, after about three months, the country was taken back into the hands of Britain, as per the Lancaster House Agreement which was meant to facilitate transition.
· The country once again became a British colony known as Southern Rhodesia.
· In the April 1980 elections, Robert Mugabe, head of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) won the majority and became the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.