The Congress of the Philatelic Federation of Southern Africa, through the Mashonaland
Philatelic Society held an exhibition of stamps in the Beit Hall, Girls High School, Salisbury
from 28 August to 2nd September, 1972. The combined events were given the name Rhophil 72.
Owners of recommended collections were invited to exhibit material from a wide international field. The exhibition, hoped to attract displays containing the gems of collections which may not have been shown before, while at the same time, award winning collections could be viewed; the aim being to illustrate some of the many popular facets of philately of both general and specific interest.
First Day Covers produced and sold at the Exhibition had the Rhophil 72 cachet applied
in violet. Covers from the Exhibition have a Salisbury postmark, not a “First Day of Issue” postmark that was applied at the Philatelic Bureau.
A post office was set up at a desk at the Monomatapa Hotel for the sale of first day
covers. A special cachet was produced that was used on all covers posted at the Congress. The cachet mark can be found in both purple and black.
The Victoria Falls Conference took place aboard a South African Railways train halfway across the Victoria Falls Bridge on the border between the unrecognised state of Rhodesia and Zambia. It was the culmination of the “détente” policy introduced and championed by B. J. Vorster, the Prime Minister of South Africa, which was then under apartheid and was attempting to improve its relations with the Frontline States to Rhodesia’s north, west and east by helping to produce a settlement in Rhodesia.
The participants in the conference were a delegation led by the Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith on behalf of his government, and a nationalist delegation attending under the banner of Abel Muzorewa’s African National Council (UANC), which for this conference also incorporated delegates from the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and the Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe(FROLIZI). Vorster and the Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda acted as mediators in the conference, which was held on the border in an attempt to provide a venue both sides would accept as neutral.
The conference failed to produce a settlement, breaking up on the same day it began with each side blaming the other for its unsuccessful outcome. Smith believed the nationalists were being unreasonable by requesting preconditions for talks—which they had previously agreed not to do—and asking for diplomatic immunity for their leaders and fighters. The nationalists contended that Smith was being deliberately intransigent and that they did not believe he was sincere in seeking an agreement if he was so adamant about not giving diplomatic immunity.