This, thankfully, covers every person then living here.
I, for example, was born in the Midlands at Dadaya in what was then termed a Native Reserve, now Runde communal lands. While Dadaya was becoming a centre of academic excellence, the alma mater of students such as Ndabaningi Sithole, Cephas Msipa, Misheck Sibanda etc I couldn’t enrol there as I wasn’t black. I had to attend a white school, the nearest being in Zvishavane, where the children were being “unfairly discriminated” against (what is “fair discrimination”?) by being segregated from contemporary black, Asian, coloured etc kids, thus unable to make friends with them or to learn languages other than English.
They were also being damaged by the inculcation, deliberate or otherwise, of the insane belief that to be white was to be superior — unless they were little Jews, Greeks, Portuguese, Italians or others from a non Anglo-Saxon genesis who were regarded as being not quite white.
All members of every community were also being unfairly disadvantaged and damaged, spiritually, physically and mentally, by the cruel suppression of blacks under the rampant leaders of the white minority. This suppression was rooted in the 1931 Land Apportionment Act described in 1964 by the Constitutional Council, a body created to review existing legislation, as “the embodiment of racial discrimination… responsible for not only intangible prejudice but actual material prejudice in the financial sense to all races in Southern Rhodesia ….”
The 1957 manifesto of the African National Congress, then lead by Joshua Nkomo, stated that its aim was “national unity of all inhabitants of the country in true partnership regardless of race, colour and creed. It stands for a completely integrated society, equality of opportunity in every sphere and the social, economic and political advancement of all”… Banned, it was replaced by the equally non-racial National Democratic Party where, to the horror of government, the overwhelmingly black membership was slightly increased by a number of whites, Asians and Coloureds. When banned, it was replaced by the non-racial Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu), from which the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) broke away in 1963. By now a contrived, CIO-encouraged apartheid had taken root and those few whites who may have wanted to join were unfairly excluded from membership of Zanu because of their race.
It is difficult, painful, and maybe temporarily impossible for contemporary Zimbabweans, victims of decades of ceaseless racist, religious and tribal and brain-damaging propaganda and violence from one side or another, to comprehend the human intricacies of what was an essentially non-racial struggle for freedom, independence, dignity and democracy embodied in the word Zimbabwe. We are, for example, acquainted through the names, although not deeply or honestly enough yet through dispassionate histories of their lives, with some of the many black heroes of Zimbabwe such as Charles Chikerema, Enoch Dumbutshena, Richard Hove, George Nyandoro and Washington Sansole to name but a few.
But the names of their non-black
fellows in the struggle are yet to take their rightful place in our history and this is possibly the explanation of how latter-day Zimbabweans, such as Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere, seem unaware that they ever existed.
In his oration at the 1986 funeral of one of our heroes, Lieutenant General Lookout Masuku, Joshua Nkomo lamented the fact that Masuku had died a prisoner in the hands of the Zimbabwe for which he had fought. “We cannot blame colonialism and imperialism for this tragedy. We who fought against these things now practise them. Why? Why? Why?… We are enveloped in the politics of hate. The amount of hate that is being preached today in our country is frightful. What Zimbabwe fought for was peace, progress, love, respect, justice, equality, not the opposite…”
He continued by warning that “our country cannot progress on fear and false accusations which are founded simply on the love of power. There is something radically wrong with our country today and we are moving, fast moving, towards destruction. There is confusion and corruption and, let us be clear about it, we are seeing racism in reverse under the false mirror of correcting imbalances from the past. In the process we are creating worse things. We have created fear in the minds of some in our country. We have made them feel unwanted, unsafe.”
Nkomo concluded by regretting that Masuku was not being buried at Heroes Acre. “But they can’t take away his status as a hero. You don’t give a man the status of a hero. All you can do is recognise it. It is his. Yes, he can be forgotten temporarily by the state. But the young people who do research will one day unveil what Lookout has done.”
And research will also, one day, unveil the fact that non-Zezurus too contributed mightily to the struggle for and achievement of Zimbabwe. Amongst the many names of those who fought and suffered for us a few, just to start off with, are Mike Auret, Guy Clutton-Brock, Joseph Culverwell and Eline Raftopoulos,.
South Africa’s late Dr Hendrik Verwoerd would perhaps have been pleased to know that even into the 21st century some are still in hot pursuit of his goal of apartheid as evidenced by the regulations covering so-called indigenisation and economic empowerment. But he may have been surprised to learn that his few spiritual disciples of today are also members of Zanu PF.
Judith Todd and her father, Sir Garfield Todd, were among the victims of white supremacy in Rhodesia during the struggle for Zimbabwe.