This film is held by the BFI (ID: 453887).


A travelogue of Southern Rhodesia intended for prospective British tourists and immigrants.

Opening with a consideration of ancient Rhodesia, the film moves from the Zimbabwe ruins to 'an outstanding work by modern man' - the Birchenough steel single-span bridge. The film then shows Chimanimani Mountains, the future national park, and the Vumba Mountains. From Umtali - a 'distributing centre for the rest of the colony' - the location shifts to Odzani Falls, the Inyanga Region, before considering the 'tribal life' of Africans - singing, dancing, making pottery. It then moves to the 'modern progressive town' of Salisbury, showing the tobacco auction and the town house. Shots of Rula Falls and Bulawayo, including Rhodes' grave, are followed by footage of Wankie Game Reserve and finally Victoria Falls.



Geoffrey Mangin joined the Southern Rhodesia Government’s Public Relations Department Film Unit when it was established early in 1946. Mangin explained that ‘my task was to do everything involved in the making of Kodachrome film productions for the Natural Resources Board’ (Mangin, 1998, 12). These films, aimed predominantly at encouraging ‘pretty-well-educated farmers’ to practise better soil conservation techniques, were transported by the government’s mobile cinema van and presented in ‘various rural halls and on the larger farms’ (Mangin, 1998, 14).

In between his conservation filming, Mangin was asked by his boss Bill Gale, ‘to quickly travel the country and make a very basic Southern Rhodesia – Land of Sunshine, again in Kodachrome’ (Mangin, 1998, 18). Shortly before this, the Public Relations Department had asked Gaumont-British Africa to produce three colour films, which included Colony in Colour, a film designed to encourage immigrants and tourists. Sight and Sound also noted in 1948 that the Southern Rhodesian Government had sponsored the production of Southern Rhodesia – Is This Your Country? which was screened predominantly in England to ‘prospective immigrants’ (Sight and Sound, Spring 1948, 7).

According to Mangin, ‘Rhodesia House wanted a more comprehensive non-theatrical tourist and immigrant promotion film’ than Colony in Colour. The exact date of production forLand of Sunshine is unclear – Mangin dates the film as both 1946 and 1949 – but Mangin did note that ‘all concerned were very pleased with the film which was shown overseas for very many years’ (Mangin, 1998, 18).

Sight and Sound claimed in 1948 that 20,000 immigrants, of which about half were from Britain, had entered Rhodesia in the previous two years (Sight and Sound, Spring 1948, 7). Peter Scott, writing in January 1954, suggested that since the War, European immigration had occurred at ‘a rate probably unparalleled in the history of the British Commonwealth’ (Scott, 1954, 29). Tourism also increased, with the post-war spread of air travel to Africa – the Central African Airways Corporation came into being in 1946 – and the development of hotels, which, as Robin Mutwira noted, ensured that ‘tourism became an increasingly important income earner’ (Mutwira, 1989, 260). 



Southern Rhodesia: Land of Sunshine is evidently aimed at an audience of prospective white tourists and immigrants. This is reflected in the representation of the country, the commentary, and the formal structure. The intended audience greatly affects the depiction of race within the film, as Land of Sunshine represents the local Africans effectively as a further tourist attraction, removed from the landscape of modern Rhodesia.

The film shows a variety of tourist attractions throughout Southern Rhodesia and, within its long shots of the landscape, pictures white tourists enjoying these vistas. The viewer is thus positioned alongside the tourist, while the film also emphasises the accommodation – ‘a modern hotel of high standard’ and ‘a new tourist hotel’ – available for the British traveller.

The opening title promises ‘…a few impressions on a traveller’ and the commentary speaks directly to the tourist throughout. It offers practical advice on the best periods to visit and describes areas with the tourist in mind (‘visitors are welcome and they can enjoy its beauty all year round’; ‘many a charming spot for a picnic holiday’).

Director Geoffrey Mangin noted that these early Kodachrome films were extremely ‘slow-moving’, explaining that ‘we really lingered so that the audience could enjoy the colour and probably their first views on film of everyday activities and scenic highlights’ (Mangin, 1998, 20). Yet, Land of Sunshine was not merely recording ‘scenic highlights’, but was positively encouraging tourists to visit Rhodesia. As such, the commentary states that Victoria Falls ‘have to be seen and heard to be appreciated to the full’. When an artist – the director’s mother – is shown painting the falls, the commentary asserts that no picture can replicate ‘this masterpiece of nature’.

The formal structure of the film – in particular the use of an animated map outlining the different places visited – takes the viewer around the country to tourist sites. This representation of the country, aimed exclusively at white tourists, initially avoids any mention of black Africans, and when Africans are finally shown it is essentially as ethnographic subjects. The film offers little consideration of their welfare or social development, instead claiming that ‘many Southern Rhodesian Africans still live a tribal life. They are essentially a happy people defining pleasure in singing and dancing’. Practical skills are prioritised – carpentry and woodwork ‘comes easily to them’ – while the commentary explains, over shots of smiling children, that ‘school has no terrors for these happy piccaninnies’.

This brief sequence of local Africans represents a shift in the film, as a rhetoric of British development and civilisation now emerges. Land of Sunshine initially emphasises the pre-colonial history of the region. It focuses on the country’s landscape and traditional ruins, even noting that ‘a civilised race lived on Rhodesian soil’ hundreds of years before the arrival of the ‘pioneer’. Yet the shot of the African children is followed by a move to the capital, Salisbury. In contrast to the local Africans, the commentary introduces Salisbury as a ‘progressive town with all the amenities of civilisation’. The area is ‘expanding rapidly’ and this development is represented by the tobacco auction, which also features in Colony in Colour. The auction, conducted by white settlers, is described as ‘a marvel of organisation and efficiency’, as the film here aligns modern development with the British immigrants. This development is further represented by Salisbury House, which, the commentary claims, stands on what was, less than a hundred years ago, ‘a swamp’.

Tom Rice (April 2008)


Works Cited

Connolly, Brian M., ‘Southern Rhodesia – Is This Your Country?’, Sight and Sound, Spring 1948.

Mangin, Geoffrey, Filming Emerging Africa: A Pioneer Cinematographer’s Scrapbook – from the 1940s to the 1960s (February 1998).

Mutwira, Robin, ‘Southern Rhodesian Wildlife Policy. 1890-1953: A Question of Condoning Game Slaughter?’ Journal of Southern African Studies, 15(2) January 1989, 250-262.

Scott, Peter, ‘Migrant Labor in Southern Rhodesia’, Geographical Review, Vol. 44, No. 1 (January 1954), 29-48.




Technical Data

Running Time:
16 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
16mm Film
Colour (Kodachrome)
593 ft

Production Credits

Production Countries:
MANGIN, Geoffrey
Southern Rhodesia. Public Relations Department.
MANGIN, Geoffrey