Judith Todd
Judith Todd Biography
Born (1943-03-18) March 18, 1943 (age 79)
Known forBeing a human rights activist

Judith Todd is the second daughter of former Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, Sir Garfield Todd. She is a human rights activist and author.

Marriage & Divorce

Judith Todd was married to Richard Acton in 1974 but they divorced 10 years into the marriage. They never had children.[1]

Activism, Arrest & Exile

Judith Todd campaigned internationally against white minority rule in Rhodesia. In October 1964, she was arrested by Rhodesian authorities and fined under the Law and Order Maintenance Act.

When she went to Gonakudzingwa, Jane Ngwenya was also there and even gave Todd her bed. Ruth Chinamano was also there.

In January 1972, Todd was arrested again and sent to Marondera Prison. Her father was arrested at the same time and sent to Kadoma Prison.

Judith Todd went on hunger strike and told the authorities that she was not eating until she went to court. She later discovered that when her father heard she was on hunger strike, he also stopped eating but did not tell the authorities. Judith Todd was force-fed to break her hunger strike.[2]

They were both released from prison weeks later with Sir Todd being placed under house arrest and Judith forced into exile.

While her father was under house arrest, Judith was given permission to leave the country in July 1972 although she was still subject to a detention order which meant that her name could not be published in Rhodesia.

The agreement was that if or when she came back, she would go back to detention. It was only just before Zimbabwe's Independence when Lord Soames lifted detention orders for people like Enos Nkala that Judith Todd's detention order was also lifted and she was able to come back home.[1]

Career after Independence

Following Independence in 1980, Judith Todd pioneered Vukuzenzele Cooperative in Zvishavane as part of efforts to rehabilitate former guerillas, who had been disabled during the liberation war.[1] She was nominated by Secretary-General Emeka Anyaoku to be a Commonwealth observer to South Africa’s 1994 April elections. She and the late Kenyan politician Oki Ooko Ombaka were among those covering Mpumalanga.[3]


Judith Todd is also an author and has written books telling the story of Rhodesia and the injustices blacks experienced at the hands of white minority rule. Her first two books were banned by the Rhodesian government but were re-published by Longman after Independence.

Here are Judith Todd's books:

  • Rhodesia
  • The Right To Say No
  • Through The Darkness: A Life in Zimbabwe

Rape Allegations

Judith Todd revealed that Agrippa Mutambara raped her during Gukurahundi. She made the revelations in her book, Through The Darkness, which chronicles the 1980s massacre of ZAPU supporters in Matabeleland and Midlands by the Fifth Brigade. Mutambara has denied the rape allegations up to this today and has said that his accuser should have reported the case to the police if it was true.

Todd said Mutambara, who was a senior army general at the time, was allegedly ordered by then army commander, Solomon Mujuru to kill her for being too vocal about Gukurahundi.

She had just presented evidence of the killings in Midlands and Matabeleland to Mujuru, who then referred her to Mutambara.

Describing the incident in her book Todd wrote:

"The [senior officer] led me into a bedroom, opened a bottle of beer for each of us, unstrapped his firearm in its holster, laid it on the bedside table next to my head and proceeded. I did not resist."

In an article published by The Standard on 20 August 2017, Todd said she had long forgiven Mutambara. She is quoted as having said:

"It is quite clear from my book, Through The Darkness that when he collected me from my office 34 years ago, Mutambara was acting under the orders of the then army commander, Rex Nhongo. He may have been as terrified as I was. For all I know, and surely what I feared, Nhongo may have ordered Mutambara to kill me and the fact that he didn’t would mean that I owe him my life. Mutambara did communicate with me before and after he read my book. I regard him as just another casualty of that so-called ‘moment of madness’ and believe we were both victims of the then frightening circumstances. I forgave him for his action against me a very long time ago and I wish him well in his endeavours."

In response, Mutambara insisted that he did not rape Todd and regards her as a friend. He said he never got any instructions from Mujuru to harm the respected human rights campaigner.[4]

Losing Zimbabwean Citizenship

In 2003 she was stripped of Zimbabwean citizenship and refused a passport. New Zealand conferred citizenship on her.[2] She returned to Zimbabwe in 2009.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Yoliswa Dube-Moyo, Judith Todd – The ‘inconvenient’ white woman, The Chronicle, Published: March 13, 2020, Retrieved: December 28, 2021
  2. 2.0 2.1 A daughter of Southlanders, Stuff, Published: 31 January 2009, Retrieved: 30 December 2021
  3. Judith Todd, Todd remembers South Africa’s freedom days, Southern Eye, Published: May 1, 2014, Retrieved: December 30, 2021
  4. OBEY MANAYITI, Why I owe my life to a ‘rapist’: Judith Todd, The Standard, Published; August 20, 2017, Retrieved: December 28, 2021
  5. Judith Todd and a Confused, Complicated Zimbabwe, econbarry.com, Published: 30 January 2019, Retrieved: 30 December 2021