Wednesday, 20 June 2007

A Zimbabwean tale

Not many of us know about this country called Zimbabwe. Perhaps some may even find difficulty in pronouncing it. But if you have watched this movie called “Blood Diamonds”, you may have heard about this country one time or another. The main character in the movie, Danny Archer, played by the evergreen Leonardo Dicaprio, is of Zimbabwean origin. In the movie, he referred to Zimbabwe as Rhodesia, it’s the old name of Zimbabwe. Just like how Malaya is to Malaysia.

Zimbabwe has got a long history but 1999 marked a significant event, it’s the year the British obtained mining rights in southern Rhodesia. Yeah, the British just like to colonise other countries in the olden days. Now, they just have James Bond and of course, Manchester United.

Anyway, the mining rights led to an influx of whites into Rhodesia, mainly as farmers and soon. Of course, this pissed off the local blacks and they staged revolts, but they were unsuccessful. Soon, in the year 1922, Rhodesia became a self-governing British colony. It was all peace and quiet until 1953 where African opposition intensified in the wake of growing African nationalism.
Fast forward to 1965, a white man by the name of Ian Smith declared unilateral independence from Britain. Civil war broke out until 1979 which led to the signing of an agreement known as the Lancaster House Agreement between the British and the Rhodesian government signalling a true independence from Britain, and Zimbabwe was born. This agreement covers things such as independence constitution, cease-fire agreement, etc. Ya’ know, like the one our country signed in 1957.

The British rule ended and in 1980, elections were held and a local man by the name of Robert Mugabe won, and has won re-election ever since. Now, this Mubage man appears to be not a very nice person. He was accused of ethnic cleansing of the whites. But the whites can't do anything. Why? Because he is the… … government.

In the year 1999, a very significant issue cropped out. There were claims that the whites, many of which at this time; were born in Zimbabwe, which made up of only 1% of the population owns 70% of the country’s commercial viable land. This means the minority is controlling the wealth of Zimbabwe. This of course, is widely rejected by the people outside the government. Hmmm… Sounds familiar?

This racial imbalance in land ownership means the locals black population ain’t very happy and they complaint to the government. What did the government do? Well, Robert Mugabe then performed a redistribution of land exercise. This “
land reform” took place in the 1990s where the government will acquire the land, mainly own by white farmers for a “fair compensation”. Anyone unhappy with the compensation can go to court. Anyone want to answer who controls the court?

The height of the land reform took place in 1999 when the Zimbabwean government drafted a constitution which allows them to compulsorily acquire land for distribution without any compensation! This really pissed off the white farmers, many of whom were born in Zimbabwe herself. The population of white farmers thus dropped from 4500 to 300. Such expulsion led to food shortage with 45% of the population suffering from malnutrition.

With this, the white population dropped from a peak of 275,000 in 1970 to possibly 120,000 in 1999, and was estimated at no more than 60,000 in 2006, possibly much less. Most emigration has been to the UK, South Africa, Zambia and Australia.

The campaign to seize white-owned farms plunge the country into starvation and near economic collapse. I wonder how long will those 60,000 whites stay in Zimbabwe. Imagine being born in a country that indirectly ask you to leave. Will you leave?

Interesting read
here.

*This entry was done purely based on the author’s personal research and understanding. Readers are advised to read with discernment.*

49 comments:

angel said...

Yours more profound... read until I got lost somewhere... wait till I'm less mabuk, I'll come back and read again. :p

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Zewt,

Thanks for the info...

You know, this 'ethnic cleansing' of the whites is nothing new; it's just in reverse order...

Like in South Africa, there was the apartheid, which is also ethnic cleansing, just by the whites...

During the Nazi occupation, there was also ethnic cleansing, in the form of the glorification of the Aryan race...

There are of course many, many more examples...

It's nothing new, but it becomes such a hullaballo *Horrors* when it is the whites who are the
victims, huh?

But regardless of which race/group/religion etc is the victim, it's wrong...

Thanks for the insight Zewt...=)

confessing7girl said...

woww this must hv took a lot of research work!!!!! damn!!!!! amazing work i might say i didnt even know rhodesia was another name for zimbabwe!!!!!!! this just shows how really hard it is to live in africa!!

sinergy.starfall said...

Explotation is the name of the game when it comes to Africa. Sad but true :s

Oh yea, the MDEC thing I did is in direct competition with IBM Lotus Notes so as you can imagine I am in a tough competition.

ah nel said...

u doin banci for tat country kar???

J.T. said...

That was a good summary of Zimbabwe's history. I like the messages/questions you left in there. :)
I have some quotes which will speak more of what I think of a certain government:

"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." - Aesop

"The government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them." - Mark Twain

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government." - Thomas Jefferson

ColourMeCrazy said...

This is probably one of the rare times that the native population of a country has seized land owned by those that they consider foreigners - even though many of the white Zimbabweans have lived in Zimbabwe for generations (I haven't done any research so who knows there may be many more examples!).

Usually it's the other way around: the English taking land from the Aborigines in Australia, land taken from the Native Americans, Native Canadians, South Africa (now that's a big example!) and many many more.

I watched Blood Diamond recently as well and that was a powerful film - a film that should have probably been made years ago.

anthraxxxx said...

Sounds very familiar indeed. It reminds me of somewhere nearer.

Cirnelle said...

Citing examples from those comments above... I'd say this is... karma? Yeah, why were the Aborigines' story told? Because its not so sell-able a point of view? But in any case, I'm not trying to justify it.

Just another observation: Farming is and has always been the primary industry of the grass roots majority. But what does erk me is the prevailing-till-our-deaths 30:40:30. Note to self: greener pastures... greener pastures...

jaezrel said...

blood diamond........sad ending.......he died!!!!!!!!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

hmmm...you got me there for awhile..are we refering to our land?..sorry la early morning..no wonder this is indeed a thinking blog..

Huei said...

wahh! i sked of history!! all the years! hehehe

*enjoying rainbow photo*

trueblue said...

Don't know much about Zimbabwe but I do love Leo (as in Leonardo Decaprio)! :)

aSstHa said...

*urgh* zewt...

early morning history lesson on Zimbabwe ke?...

added headache to my hangover... but interesting write up nonetheless.

sorry la.. not of sound mind to leave any constructive comments.

btw, i think u read the post b4 i password protected it. it's d dancinq queen one. if i remembered wrong den click the email link and i'll send the password to ur email (dun hv ur email ler)

jorji said...

It happens everywhere.
Middle east.
Russia.
Tibet.
Jamaica.

Different country different situation but basically the same problem.

Whites.They came and conquer and left.When it happen to them,they shoot a movie about it!!

Black Hawk down.
All war muvi killing Viet Kong (NAM tour of duty)blabla.

I learn a lot from this entry and I dun have to watch the muvi then.

British music is still the best!!

Depeche Mode,The Clash,Black Sabbath..Iron Maiden....Napalm Death (Arghh!)

p/s : esok ajar subjek Ilmu Alam pulak :)

Jun-E said...

Get what you mean.

Guess you're leaving soon eh?

Sad.

Jacss said...

i'll go watch d movie one day.

what a history lesson eh!!!

salute u for d hardwork & not forgetting with a word of "thanks" always!!!

zewt said...

angel - see if u catch the real meaning when u return.

Daphne Ling - yeah, i get your flow, but that was not really my point :)

confessing7girl - yeah... african continent is one of the most chaotic region after middle east. my sympathy to the ppl there.

sinergy.fall - not exactly my point but... well,all the best in your MDEC thingy.

ah nel - looks like u didnt get the flow...

JT - i am glad you managed to catch the notion. based on all the comments, not many did.

zewt said...

ColourMeCrazy - well, i know this is rather unusual. but that's not really my point here. am actually talking about a different thing... trying to deliver a different message.

anthraxxxx - well done my friend, you're one of the few who caught it.

cirnelle - what's this 30:40:30 thingy? yeah... greener pastures... u will have a feel this weekend.

constant craver joe - have to admit it's a lil heavy for morning. try again later perhaps?

Huei - not a history lesson if you read properly.

trueblue - hey! welcome! well... that was just the icing on the cake.

aSstHa - ohhh... yeah, that one i read. guess too much traffic is no good for u eh?

zewt said...

jorji - get your drift but that's not exactly my notion. ilmu alam? pasal storm kat penang ke?

jun-E - smart girl.

Jacss - hey! not exactly talking about the movie... :) ... you're welcome anyway. nice to see u here again.

Freethinker said...

Zewt, I get u.

http://thenewspeculator.blogspot.com/2007/05/racial-politics-again.html

NO no...this is not self promotion. HAHHAA....

In there, has a link to an article written by Cambridge economist which I think you would love to give it a read. :-)

Hor ny Ang Moh said...

This is deep! Why not just type out what u want us reader to know? Reader like 'hor ny ang moh' not high in education u know. With u beating around in the 'bushes', I have to seach around in the 'bushes' before I find ur meanting. Anyway whatever u try to convair will no happen unless a lot of 'jelly-fish' is being throw back to the sea. Pardon me if I find the wrong message in ur 'bushes'.Have a nice day.

Hor ny Ang Moh said...

Oh! Forget to add whatever u write is already happening except that it is no about land, but on other even more important matter then land.(can't give eg,but u know what I meant )So are u throwing back jelly fish??( Sorry it is just that I have eat a lot of 'oyster' lately ).I am sure u know what I meant. Have a nice day OK!!

Manal said...

Divide and conquer. Hate/prejudism and though it's a strong word, it is like a global epidemic whether it is exercised directly or not; some sorta part of the socio-economy competition. Whoever in the leading positions dictate whatever they desire and this is actually what is going on everywhere around the world, like it or not. And this is not just a white-man act thingy. Take for example, sri lanka: tamil vs singhalese. One group is hindu majority, another one of buddhist believers. The tamils are apparently the major population but they are constantly driven out of the island.

Eh zewt, u really opt to move out of the country ker? i like diamonds by the way ( and i dont own one yet, sigh).

alan zed said...

hurm must be the if you x suka, you can keluar thingy. am i getting warmer ? ;)

Helen said...

Interesting read.

Talking about emerging superpowers with huge population like China and India, Africa was never considered one and little wonder. It could have been so much more.

me said...

eh? i tot i stepped into national geographic. :-p

is this post a hint towards another country we know? or purely a lesson in world history?

aSstHa said...

hahaha... pity u zewt since u tink most ppl missed d point of your entry.

i got it earlier but was too hungover to bother thinking bout a proper reply... hehehe... am feeling better now tho.

the situation u wrote is jz a mere fact that history repeats itself anywer n everywer. it's even happening closer to home den we tink (or most of us jz turn a blind eye to it cos well, "sam jiu" la ders nothing we can do unless we decide we've had it and pack our lifes elsewhere).

don worry. got ur point in d morning itself. jz being lazy for once... :P

Doreen said...

I will leave without a doubt. No point staying in this country but then again, leaving is easier said than done.....poor whites....

Bee said...

It's not easy for the government to handle this issue. On one hand you have 99% of the population Vs 1% of white who own the land, already this is extremely imbalance. If they don't do anything it might create a riot towards the white. I'm just curious when they seized the land why didn't someone took over the land and continue cultiviting foods?

jaezrel said...

y no reply........cis

ah nel said...

soli man...i low skool wan so ur post too deep til i blur... ;)

Huei said...

ahhhh clearly i read better in the evening than in the morning!

so thats y we don't have so many things here..not only land, establish companies cannot do without *ahem* as part of the company..

petrol stations r owned by *ahem*..well..99.99% anyways

ohh u're refering to Zimbabwean..ahhhh =P

Anonymous said...

the difference is the brit's ancestor colonise their land.and i can't recall our ancestor colonise the bolehland.

zewt said...

freethinker - yes freethinker, i have read that before and that article from elanor tan was indeed very very ... intellectual. too deep for me even haha! well done on getting the point.

hor ny - well, as long as you know how to throw the jellyfish back to the sea... then i think you got the point already. you are certainly more than just being horny... you're quite intellectual too my friend.

Manal - well, it happening everywhere doesnt mean we should allow it to happen near home.. or home... IF it is happening of cos. leaving? well... that depends on how you define it. perhaps mentally...i am already gone... :P

alan zed - pandai pun :)

Helen - indeed... africa has the largest reserve of diamonds and countries like congo actually has the largest reserve of a certain rare element. if they are united, they can achieve so much more. but then... look closer to home. we have got so much more natural resources compared to singapore. but are we any better?

zewt said...

me - well, i am sure you know what i am hinting, or not hinting.

aSstHa - well, i do expect you to understand it, cos i know you can :) again, you used the sam jiu phrase well, i am very impress! yeah, if we had enough... we just have to pack our bags.

Doreen - the fear of uncertainty is just too great for some. some would rather suffer in certainty instead.

Bee - There were already riots there. as for non-cultivation, i read that the whites were the more affluent farmers... the locals were just not trained emough. guess they got too comfortable with the promise of free land.

jaezrel - so sorry... ter-miss that one hehe...

ah nel - if you try... u will know it's not that deep wan.

Huei - yeah... i was merely referring to zimbabweans.... u know... where the minority are claimed to own 70% of the wealth and they dispute it... u know... like zimbabwe.

anon at 8.10 - so does that mean those that didnt colonise the land deserves to be driven away?

Anonymous said...

that's what am trying to say we are not the one who colonise this land and why we are treated as one.

ah nel said...

count from finger to toes its 18 times stil kenot understand...damnnnnn...blame on my low study...sial...LOL

J.T. said...

Wow Zewt, I can see in your reply to some comments, you really trying hard not to be too obvious. :)

Enemy of the Republic said...

Thank you for coming by my blog. While there are obvious problems in this film, I am always glad to see movies that deal more or less honestly with Africa. In my country, we just don't get it. I am still recommending The Constant Gardener to people because I don't think people here realistically understand the poverty, the profiteering and, well...what happens when almost every basic need is not met. Anyway, good to meet you, my new friend!

anthraxxxx said...

Thanks zewt. I heard this is a very good movie. I think I'll get my copy from Uncle Ho soon enough :P

Russ said...

I like that Movie.. Leonardo acted with a good Southafrican accent.. unlike Anthony Hopkins in 'the world's fastest indian' where he plays a Kiwi accent, but sounds more like a Irish-American slang.. :P

But if you like 'Blood Diamond' and the african history, you will love the 2004 movie 'Hotel Rwanda' nickenamed the 'african Shindler's List' starring Don Cheadle (from Ocen's 11) playing in an affrican accent... seriously, check it out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_Rwanda

zewt said...

anon at 9.43 - that's becos we are always seen as... settlers... dont u think?

ah nel - aiyoo... read some of the comments then... particularly those from anthraxxxx...

JT - being subtle is the way to go when u wanna talk about such thing.

Enemy of the Republic - hi and welcome to AZAIG! like what i said in your blog... i wasnt exactly reviewing the movie. but i guess you wont pick it up cos you're from the states. nice to meet u to and hope to see ya around more.

anthraxxxx - yup... u should... since you already understand my post... u should go watch the movie too.

Russ - hmmm russ... u miss the point.

rinnah said...

Wah, your post very deep lah zewt. Had to read it again after looking at the comments before I understood what it was all about. *wink* Yeah... Zimbabwe is like some other place I know of very well. Green pastures, here I come?

Anyway, on a totally irrelevant note, I haven't seen Blood Diamond yet, so I still want and love my diamonds! Wahahaha!

Russ said...

Eh, Mr Zewt, what is the point that I missed? The racial disharmony that exists in the African countries, the political friction between the tribes and ethnic groups, the rules of the Apartheid between black-white preferential treatments? Or was it the similarities between our own government and their ruling governments/politicians?

Trust me zewt, many years of working with Africans and SouthAfricans have made me very aware of what goes on over that side of our world, especially after hearing the horror stories being told first hand, and stepping foot on the red soil. Many things can be learnt from all the stories we hear and many can be avoided in the future. But there is also a whole different side of African counties which are ‘not so ugly’ and actually have many positive and beautifully untold stories which are yet to be heard. To many typical Malaysians whom only get their information from the news on the TV, newspapers, internet and movies, and have not been to anywhere close to the African continent, watching movies like ‘Blood Diamond’ and ‘Hotel Rwanda’ may be the closest thing to being there, therefore I wanted to share about that movie.

Im sorry if I appeared kind of blasé and not commenting on the actual point you were making in my previous comment. I actually have a soft spot for the African continent, and would like so reserve on posting my socio and politically depressing views, and looking at more humorous factors from the movies, ie accents, etc.

kyh said...

Aha! Deja vu indeed! You've been coming up with so many things like this nowadays eh? :P But I like! HAAAA! Geez I'm sucha worthless, unpatriotic countryman!

zewt said...

rinnah - Glad you managed to catch it.. blood diamond... better go watch... then your future husband will save some money haha!

russ - wow... didnt know you have got such close ties with the african continents. yeah, i do feel for them, the civil wars in some of the countries seem endless and the poor continues to suffer. that's the way it will go for now. as for the real point of my post... i guess it's not really relevant to u no more.

kyh - a lot meh? where got...:P... haha... i am sure you are patriotic. just that certain things are not within our control.

Russ said...

Hmm.. maybe I still dont get your point.. hehe
But politics and people dying is verrrryy depressing for me, and I try not to touch it with a 10ft pole. :)

zewt said...

russ - awww... c'mon russ :) ... the punchline is on the 1% of the population controlling 70% of the country's wealth... and they are being driven away. well... i know a lot of ppl dont quite favour such thing. i thoroughly understand how you feel.