Garfield Todd
Garfield Todd Biography
Born(1908-07-13)July 13, 1908
Invercargill, New Zealand
DiedOctober 13, 2002(2002-10-13) (aged 94)
Burial placeDadaya Mission, Zvishavane
Known forBeing the fifth Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia
Term7 September 1953 – 17 February 1958
PredecessorGodfrey Huggins
SuccessorEdgar Whitehead
Political partyUnited Rhodesia Party, United Federal Party
ChildrenJudith, Cynthia and Alycen

Sir Reginald Stephen Garfield Todd was the fifth Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia from 1953 to 1958 and later became an opponent of white minority rule in Rhodesia.

Personal Details

Born: 13 July 1908, to Thomas and Edith Todd in Invercargill, New Zealand. [1]
Marriage: Garfield Todd was married to Jean Grace Wilson. Todd's wife died in 2001.[2]
Children: In 1943 Garfield and Grace Todd’s daughter Judith was born. She was delivered by Garfield Todd.[3] He had two other daughters Cynthia and Alycen.[2]
Death: he died 13 October 2002.

School / Education

After university at Otago, he went to the Glen Leith Theological College, took holy orders in 1931, and was assigned to mission work in South Africa. This was interrupted by studies at Witwatersrand University, in Johannesburg, and at Butler University, in the United States. He moved to Southern Rhodesia in 1934, to work in Dadaya. [3] Todd worked, in his student years, at his father's brickmaking business.[2]

In 1935, Garfield Todd was at Wits University studying medicine, not for a degree, but as a crucial step to his career in politics. [3]

Service / Career

He became a parliamentary candidate for Shabani in 1946 and won the seat for the United Rhodesia Party. [2]
In September 1953, Garfield Todd was elected as prime minister of Southern Rhodesia, replacing Sir Godfrey Huggins. He also became the United Rhodesia Party president.
He appointed Sir Robert Tredgold to report on the need to extend the franchhise. [4] This revision of the franchise qualifications, he estimated, would add between 6,000 and 10,000 Africans to the roll. His ministers resigned en bloc in outrage at the proposals in January 1958. [5] Garfield Todd proceeded to form a new cabinet but three months later, the party rejected him as its leader, in favour of Sir Edgar Whitehead.[2]

Todd initially formed a splinter party (the Rhodesian United Party), which failed to win a single seat in the 1958 election. In another attempt at a comeback, he joined Sir John Moffatt, of Northern Rhodesia, in forming the multiracial Central Africa Party in 1960, but resigned it's leadership, thus ending his political career. The party, like the one he tried to form in 1961, failed to gain seats in elections.[2]



During Federation, he was responsible for the Kariba Dam scheme gaining preference over the Kafue Dam Scheme. [1]


In 1960, he shared a platform with the African nationalist leader Joshua Nkomo, and jointly appealed to the British government to suspend Rhodesia's colonial constitution. He appeared before the United Nations colonialism committee in New York.

In 1965, Todd and his wife Grace, were put under house arrest at their ranch in Dadaya, for a renewable period of one year.

During the Pearce Commission in 1972, he was detained. This detention was extended to Todd's daughter Judith, who had been campaigning on his behalf in London and other European capitals. Each promptly went on hunger strike. Judith went into exile for eight years, while Garfield Todd remained at the ranch until June 1976, banned from even writing or receiving letters. For long periods, the phone line was cut. In October 1976, Joshua Nkomo invited him to join his delegation at the unproductive Geneva Conference on the future of Rhodesia. [2]

Career After Independence

When Zimbabwe became independent, Todd was invited to serve in the Senate for five years. In 1985, he was given a knighthood, at the instigation of the New Zealand government.


The play titled, Black Lover and written by Australian-based award winning playwright Stanley Makuwe was based on Sir Garfield Todd's life.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 [Mary Akers (ed.), Encyclopaedia Rhodesia] (The College Press, Salisbury, 1973) Retrieved 8 August 2019"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Patrick Keatley and Andrew Meldrum, Sir Garfield Todd, The Guardian, Published: October 14, 2002, Retrieved: December 28, 2021
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Bill Kirkman, Garfield Todd: The End of the Liberal Dream in Rhodesia: The Authorised Biography, Weaver Press, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: December 28, 2021
  4. [Katherine Sayce (Ed), Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe], Tabex, Encyclopedia Zimbabwe, (Quest Publishing, Harare, 1987), Retrieved: 25 July 2019
  5. [R. Kent Rasmussen (ed), Historical Dictionary of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia] (The Scarecrow Press, London, 1979) Retrieved 8 August 2019"
  6. Award winning & Aussie-based playwright releases gem on Garfield Todd,, Published: june 25, 2018, Retrieved: December 29, 2021