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Authorized form of name
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Dates of existence
The Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) was formed in August 1963 after a group of Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) members, disenchanted with the leadership of Joshua Nkomo, decided to found a new, more militant organisation. The movement, under the leadership of Ndabaningi Sithole and Robert Mugabe, was banned by Ian Smith's governing Rhodesian Front in 1964 and its leadership detained. ZANU nevertheless continued to be active and began guerrilla operations in 1969, basing itself in neighbouring Mozambique from 1974.
Mugabe assumed unilateral control of ZANU on 18th March, 1975. Later that year, a factional split along tribal lines led the Ndebele to follow Sithole into the moderate ZANU (Ndonga) party, who renounced violent struggle, while the Shona followed Mugabe with a more militant agenda.
ZANU won the 1980 elections under the leadership of Mugabe, and seven years later merged again with Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU to form the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).