I’ve been following the situation in Zimbabwe quite closely, as it is a story near to my homeland and my heart. Recently, a poem has been doing the rounds on email which summarises exactly how I feel about my country, my continent. The longing for home, and at the same time, the feeling that I can never truly be accepted there because of my skin colour and the history (and responsibility) that that brings with it…
I thought that I would like to share this with y’all, so today I decide to try and find out who wrote this poem and some of the story behind it… turns out that it was written by a woman (Michelle Frost) living in East London, South Africa having grown up in Rhodesia (as it was then) - a local newspaper article about her (and the poem).
Sadly, this was not the first place I found reference to it - that was on a website for people who still call themselves Rhodesians. It really saddens me to see that there are still people who long for the “good old days” of that oppressive regime, who could (would?) not stay around to help the country that they seem to love so much rebuild and restore itself.
The more astute amongst you will have noticed that I write this as a South African living in London - perhaps that is a cause of my sadness… but that is another story…
I have a white “Rhodesian” acquaintance in the US, who bemoans that Zimbabwe “went black”. She employs black people, doesn’t have a problem with my sister (who’s black), but she doesn’t blame Mugabe for being a cnut on any other reason than he’s black. She bemoans the situation, citing a friend of hers who “had to leave” for a very nice house in London because of the situation she was “reduced to”, and because “this woman knew Jackie Onassis, for God’s sake!”
Don’t know what my point is, but felt I had to share.
If you note, I quoted the lady without comment. What you guessed about my motivation isn’t correct, or if it is, then it’s way, way deep in my subconscious, and makes me a rather unpleasant person, something I hope I’m not. Really and truly, I would imagine I posted that because grimpixie mentioned white Rhodesians harking back to an older time.
I’m from a mixed-race family, so I get pretty angry about racism. This woman is really nice to my sister, but she talks like that in front of her, which pisses me off. I’m not being PC for the sake of it - I really, really feel that way and always have done.
my grandfather went to southern africa in 1937 as a refugee from germany, and now my aunt and uncle are leaving for australia.
a surgeon, my uncle hasn’t been paid for over 6 months.
if Mugabe had spent the last 20 years training people to take over the farms, to farm in large co-operatives, rather than subsistence small-holdings, to become doctors, teachers and so on, the country would be in a better state than it is.
instead he has taken money, land and property for himself and his cronies and left the people to starve.
grim, you have my sympathy. My brother’s wife is South African. I know she misses her homeland, at least in certain ways. She’s going back with my two nephews for several months next month. (The live in New York.) They are in the early grades of elemenary school now, and she feels this is the last time she may be able to take them for such an extended time without interfering with their school. But she wants them to have a good sense of their African heritage.
Although she supported the transition in South Africa, I’m sure she must feel conflicted about some of the aspects too.
I spent a month in SA in 1998. Breathtakingly beautiful, but sometimes jarring when we occasionally came in contact with some verkrampt attitudes.
I’m also reminded a bit of some of my native-born Zonian friends (Canal Zone natives), who had to leave their Panamanian homeland when the Canal reverted a few years ago.