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A boycott of Chinese, SA goods might work

IT appears that after Libya and Malaysia’s withdrawal from the frontlines, South Africa and China are among the remaining bastions prepared to prop up the regime in Harare.

ica, sans-serif”>We are told that President Robert Mugabe will be in China this month and that he has had a team in South Africa, all begging for financial assistance as our economy’s miracle “turnaround” is everyday exposed for the pre-election performance it largely was.

Having failed to achieve the desired effects — of wooing urban voters or, apparently, winning International Monetary Fund support — the “turnaround” has been tossed to the wind and the central bank is as silent as it was vocal a few months ago, pronouncements to drive foreign currency even deeper underground notwithstanding.

I would like to suggest one small but not totally insignificant response should China give Mugabe a lifeline: a boycott of Chinese shops and businesses in Zimbabwe and to the best of our ability find alternatives in a world where so much now bears the stamp “made in China” whenever we can find alternatives.

Recently South African wines were poured into the street by protesters outside the South African embassy in London.

We need to devise “soft diplomacy” ways to find a voice and to get President Thabo Mbeki’s attention here in Harare too. We are so intertwined with the South African economy that this is a real challenge. We could start by boycotting South African luxury items.

Let us in general buy “proudly Zimbabwean” wherever and whenever we can. At the very least, this would support local manufacturers and products during what is a difficult period for our country.

Economically, these efforts may seem puny and symbolic, but in these times where the possibilities for resistance are so limited it is important that we find ways to keep the fire for freedom burning. As a famous son of China once said: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

B Mhlanga,


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