AFRICANGLOBE – Often when I give public talks I shock my audience by stating emphatically that Zimbabwe is the only liberated country in Africa.
Generally, my audience claps heatedly – more so if it’s predominantly Black. Immediately there will be hostile comments and questions from some.
How dare I say that when Robert Mugabe is oppressing his people and all the Zimbabweans have run away from their country because of hunger created deliberately by Mugabe and his cronies?
They also say that only Mugabe and his friends took the land.
I start by explaining that Zimbabweans are 300 years ahead of South Africans.
They have their country back, while South Africans are landless, unemployed squatters crammed in townships with no hope, despite having the best constitution on earth.
I ask my audience if its not progress that the Zimbabweans have been able to redistribute land from 4000 White settlers who owned 80% of Zimbabwe until around the year 2000?
Now, more than 380,000 African households own the land.
On food production and hunger, I ask if people didn’t know about the international sanctions against Zimbabwe, not just the leaders.
I then concede that Zanu-PF didn’t handle the whole land redistribution business effectively, they neglected to immediately invest in land to support new land holders to at least keep production at acceptable levels.
But I then tell them that things are changing rapidly in Zimbabwe, this progress is now admitted even by the New York Times, which ran a big story on how tobacco and milk production in Zimbabwe are of a high quality and already reaching pre-land reform crisis production levels.
Is it not progress that from 2000 White dairy farmers who made all the money for themselves, now there is more than 50,000 African dairy farmers?
The same with tobacco which is a big foreign exchange earner.
Again, from being dominated by a few super rich White farmers, it’s now benefiting more than 60,000 African farmers.
To recognise these positive developments is not to deny that there are problems in Zimbabwe. It’s not to deny that there is a need to reform both the political system and to stabilise the economy further.
But we have to contend with a simple truth – that Zimbabwe has now resolved its colonial heritage and that Zimbabweans by and large are a truly free people.
You can even see it in their walk and confidence of expression.
Yes, there is still a lot of work to be done, but in another five to 10 years, the beauty of the revolution that has happened in front of our eyes will make our country look like a bantustan.
Zanu-PF, on the other hand, corrupt as it might be, has a sense of history and vision for the future.
We continue to refuse to learn from Zimbabwe at our own peril.
Right now, their indigenisation law has forced mining companies to give Zimbabweans a 51% majority ownership. See my next column on this.
By: Andile Mngxitama
Why They Hate Robert Mugabe – THEBLACKCHANNEL.NET