Friday, March 27, 2009

An Outside View

I have been away from Zimbabwe on a short trip that took me to Ghana and later, South Africa. I met some interesting people. I visited some interesting places. I read some interesting articles and a book – “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by an Afghan author, Khaled Hosseini. If you want to, look it up on the internet. It is hailed as an ‘instant classic’. But that‘s not my point. The characters in A Thousand Splendid Suns are Afghans in Afghanistan. Although the book is a novel, the setting is not. Between the book and the places I visited, I returned home to Zimbabwe knowing that I am a very lucky man to be living here. Although we have some tough times, and I realise that many of my black Zimbabwean counterparts have tougher times than I do, we are clearly a lot better off then the Afghans in Afghanistan, the majority of South Africans in South Africa and some of the Ghanaians in Ghana.

I met two former Zimbabweans now resident in South Africa but both enjoying opportunities to work outside their adopted country. Both told me that given ‘a return to normality’ in Zimbabwe and ‘an opportunity to use their skills’, they would be back home in no time.

And now I am back – home that is. Not much has changed. The current battering of the few remaining white farmers is seemingly chronic. The rationale for this ‘last loot’ mentality is not easily explained. That ‘The End’ (of the looting) is coming soon is evident to most of us. Why do a few misguided ‘chefs’ think they can steal for themselves a new place in the sun? It will not last much longer, that’s for sure. An agricultural land audit is coming sooner rather than later and some people who thought that they could get very rich quickly are going to be disappointed. But in the meantime there are a handful of very brave farmers who are taking yet another physical and psychological battering.

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