The Colony of Southern Rhodesia was a self-governing British Crown colony in southern Africa from 1923 to 1980, equivalent in territorial terms to modern Zimbabwe. Following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965 it existed as the self-declared, unrecognized state of Rhodesia until 1979, when it reconstituted itself under majority rule as Zimbabwe Rhodesia, which also failed to win overseas recognition. After a period of interim British control following the Lancaster House Agreement in December 1979, the country achieved internationally recognised independence as Zimbabwe in April 1980.
Robert Mugabe rose to prominence in the 1960s as the leader of the Zimbabwe African National. As current President of Zimbabwe he has served since 22 December 1987. As one of the leaders of the rebel groups in opposition to white minority rule, he was elected Prime Minister in 1980, serving in that office as head of the government, until 1987, when he became the country’s first executive head of state. As of August 2016, he is the world’s oldest and one of the longest serving Head of State. His 36-year rule has been characterised by gross human rights violations, resulting in him joining the world list of dictators.