Another symbol of 90 years of white rule in Rhodesia fell by the wayside yesterday when the new black-majority government removed from the walls of Parliament about 30 art works depicting white leaders of the past.
A painting and a bust of former prime minister Ian Smith, a portrait of Cecil Rhodes, founder of the colony in 1890, and a bust of former South African prime minister Jan Smuts were among the works taken down.
The removal was carried out quietly, unlike last year's pulling down of a statue of Rhodes on a main street in Salisbury as hundreds of joyous blacks cheered and some beat on the statue.
Some whites expressed displeasure at yesterday's work. Watching workmen bash away at a wall to remove a large marble sculpture of Henry Milton, an early governor of the colony, a white policeman said: "I'd like them to put it in my front yard. I'd be proud to have it."
An official in the parliamentary library said, "Every bust, picture, portrait, sculpture or whatever [depicting] the course of this country's history since 1890 has been removed."
Portraits of the British royal family from King George V to Queen Elizabeth II remain in place.
An official close to Smith said he was upset by the action that was ordered by a parliamentary committee a month ago but his small white party could not prevent the removal.
The parliamentary official said that the art works, some of which were "reasonably valuable," would be stored in the building's one-room museum.
"I've simply been told to get rid of them," he said, adding that he had nothing to put in their place. "Until this country has had a few more prime ministers, we shan't be hanging anything."
He said no art works depicting black African leaders had ever been displayed in the 90-year-old building.
No portrait of former prime minister Abel Muzorewa, black leader of the discredited white-dominated interim administration that preceded the present government, had ever been hung in the Parliament building because nobody got around to painting it during his brief six months in office.