a bloody reminder of Zimbabwe’s post-colonial history

Mugabe and the White African on the telly last night.  Ms O insisted we watch it, and then went off to bed.  I felt it raised a good deal of noteworthy, insightful and quite uncomfortable issues. 

Is it possible to be a white african?  Well, yes, we have to answer.  I was reading Huey P. Newton just the other month, and to concur: just as it makes sense to talk of African Americans, or Afro~Brazilian culture.  We now live in a world where if a white man, born and bred in, in this case, Zimbabwe, Africa considers himself to be African then so be it, that is how the encounter is to be defined and he understood. 

Briefly, an old white farmer called Jim bought his farm in 1980, I think.  With a loan which he then paid off.  About 5 years ago, Robert Mugabe’s land reforms are poised to remove, forcibly, by brutish mob, anyone who is white and who owns a farm.  So they’re trying to oust him – Jim, his family and the 500+ people (black africans) who work on and live around this farm.  All of this is on film.  The upshot was, court cases in Namibia – twice postponed due to legal requests from the Zimbabwean government about legitimacy, a nasty beating aftermath again on film, which involved raiders putting red hot metal down the old farmer’s wife’s throat.  Then through real trials and tribulations, finally a success in court and Jim the White African won the legal right to stay on, on his farm. 

The film ends with snapshots showing the whole farm and his home burned to the ground.  Seems Justice got very contestable in the Zimbabwean countryside.

Now, obviously, it’s all too easy to gloss over the politics from the fall-out of colonial rule.  And I’ve never been one to sing from the hymn sheet of Human Rights.  Gave to Amnesty as a teenager.  But last night I went to bed thinking about race and equality before law.  Again a young teenager, I remember thinking it was right to kick the whites off the land and give it to the poor black peasants.  But the reality is much more unsettling and more unpleasant than that and I can see it now.

I was reading Ukaegbu this morning and came across this: “Also, in Zimbabwe in the early 2000s, President Robert Mugabe’s attempt to federate some lands taken by some people under Ian Smith, etc, raised some unpalatable concern and indeed this should not be so if fairness prevailed?  We should not be talking of land but of life on a ‘live and let live basis’ basis.  Surely, if tyranny and apartheid have gone, the face of justice ‘should not alter irrespective of whom the trap caught, the weak or the strong’.  Apparently, as it turns out, nature finds time to judge our valuation.  Who knows what awaits us in future, if justice comes first in all our dealings, irrespective of race, colour, creed or location’.  I think he summarises very nicely my take on the White African. 

And I think that Mugabe should die


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