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The Rhodesia Prison Service (RPS) was a law enforcement agency of Rhodesia. A subdivision of the Rhodesian Security Forces, it was responsible for the administration of the Rhodesian prison system. Established in 1954 as the Southern Rhodesia Prison Department and incorporated into the federal prison service of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, it continued as the prison service of independent Rhodesia during the UDI period. Upon Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, it was dissolved and superseded by the Zimbabwe Prison Services.

Rhodesia Prison Service
Zimbabwe - Prison Service badge image.jpg
Seal of the Rhodesia Prison Service
Flag of Rhodesia (1968–1979).svg
Agency overview
Formed1965; 54 years ago (1965)
Preceding agencies
  • Federal Prison Service
  • Southern Rhodesia Prison Service
Dissolved1980; 39 years ago (1980)
Superseding agency
MottoTenax et Justus
Latin: "Just and Tenacious"

The RPS was led by the Director of Prisons, who was assisted by a Deputy Director and an Assistant Director. The first Director of Prisons was David Cameron in 1954, and the final officeholder was Frank Leslie Patch, serving from 1968 to 1980.

Seal and flagEdit

The seal of the Rhodesia Prison Service consists of a yellow lion with a red tongue and white claws, standing on a horizontal white bar. The background color of the circular emblem in which the lion stands is light green. Above the circle is the Zimbabwe Bird, of gold color and outlined in dark brown. Rising vertically through the center of the circle is a sheathed sword inlaid with silver design and with a black point. The hilt of the sword consisted of a gold guard and pommel, and a black and white grip. Curved around the edge of the interior of the circle are the words "Rhodesia Prison Service" in white color. The lines of the circle are black, there are two white circular borders: one around the lion, and another serving as the exterior border of the emblem. Below the circle, just beneath the hilt of the sword, is the red and yellow flower of the flame lily, Rhodesia's national flower.[1]

The flag of the Rhodesia Prison Service was a light green flag, of 2:1 proportions, with the RPS emblem in the center. The RPS emblem and flag were designed by Alan Simpson.[1]


Prior to 1954, prisons in Southern Rhodesia were administered by the Southern Rhodesia Prison Department (SRPD).[1] On 30 November 1954, the Federal Assembly of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland passed the Prisons Department Act (49/1954), which incorporated the SRPD into the Federal Prison Service (FPS), effective 1 December 1954.[2] This arrangement continued until December 1963, when the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland dissolved and autonomy was returned to the individual colonies of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland, the latter two of which gained independence in 1964 as Zambia and Malawi, respectively. From 1963, the service continued as the Southern Rhodesia Prison Service (SRPS).[1] In 1965, shortly before Rhodesia's unilateral declaration of independence from the United Kingdom, the SRPS began using the name Rhodesia Prison Service.[1]

In 1980, upon Zimbabwe's independence, the RPS was dissolved and superseded by the Zimbabwe Prison Services.

Organizational structureEdit

Administration and personnelEdit

The headquarters of the Rhodesia Prison Service was located at the corner of Fourth Street and Jameson Avenue (today renamed Samora Machel Avenue).[1]

# Ranks 1975
1 Director of Prisons
2 Deputy Director of Prisons
3 Assistant Director of Prisons
4 Senior Chief Superintendent
5 Chief Superintendent
6 Superintendent
7 Chief Prison Officer
8 Principal Prison Officer
9 Established Prison Officer
10 Prison Officer
11 Chief Warder
12 Sergeant Major
13 Sergeant
14 Corporal
15 Lance Corporal
16 Warder
Source: [3]

Prison systemEdit

The Rhodesia Prison Service administered more than 40 prisons.[1]

Rhodesian Prison Service prisons
Prison Location Security type Note(s)
Beitbridge Prison Beitbridge
Belingwe Prison Belingwe
Bindura Prison Bindura
Binga Prison Binga
Buffalo Range Prison Chiredzi Renamed Chiredzi Prison
Bulawayo Central Prison Bulawayo Medium/Remand Commonly known as Grey Street Prison
Chikurubi Prison Farm Salisbury
Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison Maximum
Chikurubi Medium Prison Medium
Chipinga Prison Chipinga
Connemara Prison Gwelo Closed 1979/80
Enkeldoorn Prison Enkeldoorn Renamed Chivhu Prison
Fort Victoria Prison Fort Victoria Renamed Masvingo Prison
Gatooma Prison Farm Gatooma Renamed Kadoma Prison Farm
Gonakudzingwa Detention Camp Vila Salazar Closed 1979
Gorge Grange Prison Fort Victoria Satellite of Fort Victoria Prison; farm prison
Gwanda Prison Gwanda
Gwelo Prison Gwelo Renamed Gweru Prison
Hartley Prison Hartley Closed 1968
Katambora Reformatory Formerly a prison
Karoi Prison Karoi
Kentucky Prison Salisbury Satellite of Salisbury Central Prison
Khami Maximum Security Prison Bulawayo Maximum Held mentally ill prisoners
Khami Medium Prison Medium
Khami Open Prison Open
Marandellas Prison Marandellas Renamed Marondera Prison
Mrewa Prison Mrewa Renamed Murewa Prison
Mtoko Prison Mtoko
New Sarum Prison Salisbury Satellite of Salisbury Central Prison
Nyamandlovu Prison Nyamandhlovu Renamed Anju Prison Farm
Plumtree Prison Plumtree
Que Que Prison Que Que Renamed Kwekwe Prison
Rusape Prison Rusape
Salisbury Central Prison Salisbury Medium (Maximum & remand sections) Renamed Harare Central Prison
Salisbury Remand Prison & Holding Centre Remand Renamed Harare Central Remand Prison
Shabani Prison Shabani Renamed Zvishavane Prison
Sinoia Prison Sinoia Renamed Chinhoyi Prison
Selukwe Prison Selukwe Renamed Shurugwi Prison
Tjoloto Prison Wankie
Umtali Prison Umtali Renamed Mutare Prison
Wankie Prison Wankie Renamed Hwange Prison
Wha Wha Maximum Security Detention Centre Gwelo Maximum
Wha Wha Medium Prison Medium



  1. ^ a b c d e f g "RPS Home Page". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  2. ^ Beadle, Hugh (1963). The statute law of Southern Rhodesia, in force on or made before the 30th day of April, 1963. Printed by Mardon Rhodesian Printers. pp. 309–10. Missing |author1= (help)
  3. ^ "Rhodesia Prison Service Insignia." Prison Service of Rhodesia. Retrieved 2019-09-01.