The reality came to Sweden in full force and poignantly too when it happened to one of her own:
Maria Stevens (Swedish by birth, a former farmer’s wife in Zimbabwe)
The news is that our old friend the late octogenarian Robert Mugabe now in his upper eighties, is still a popular president in Zimbabwe. For all the reasons best known to Zimbabweans.
But not as popular here and or in the rest of Europe or anywhere else in da kingdoms of other White Man’s Lands.
Way back in Nigeria, this was the song : Papa’s Land
Roberto Mugabe has been popular before, when fighting for a just cause . It was Sweden that financed the printing of his electioneering posters & ZANU campaign papers during the political campaign in liberated Zimbabwe; but he is unlikely to be popular again over here until and unless he settles all the old scores – outstanding and overdue reforms based on non-racial land redistribution – ha ha – and until he rescues the collapsed economy that he once wrecked.
In 1981, a Zimbabwean dollar was roughly the equivalent of the American dollar, anywhere in the world. By the time Maria Steven’s husband was being slaughtered and the Stevens farm being taken over, it’s still impossible to imagine but with hyper-inflation it had devalued to something like an astronomical six hundred million Zimbabwean dollars to the American dollar and about fourteen hundred million Zimbabwean dollars to the British pound. Nor was this merely a direct consequence of what Brother Mugabe so famously told Tony Blair: “ So, Blair keep your England, and let me keep my Zimbabwe”. Sometimes we get what we want.
In other words he was telling the then Prime Minister of GB , you hold on to the British bulldog pound and land, and I’ll hold on to mine. Although it’s trade that makes the world go round. Stubborn man now deliberately still sporting that anti-British Hitler moustache.
Money matters. Daily bread and bread crumbs matters can be terrifying and almost as horrifying as to hear that the US is 14 trillion dollars in debt and owes China alone, 4 trillion – American dollars. That’s US of America’s number one capitalist problem. My problem and perhaps the Zimbabwean peoples’ problem is that we don’t even know how much a trillion is. Do you (yes you) know how many zeroes there are in a trillion?
At 87-years of age President Mugabe could pass away on the throne and go down in history as one of those who achieved the status of “ President for life” and this could happen any day now, since all of us (including Brother Leader Gaddafi) are living on extra time. Tenacity consists in Mugabe or Gaddafi as the man of the beginning/ First Horse-man of the Apocalypse being consistent with the man nearing the end, being consistent throughout the course of life’s struggles, life’s pilgrimage to the empty grave, waiting to swallow us up.
King Bob – as Robert Mugabe is affectionately or not so affectionately called by many of Zimbabwe’s disaffected, dissident ex- Brits, has said many things to both his nation and to the United Nations. Yet there is something that he never got across to most of us, certainly not to me, and this turned up unexpectedly during a very two-way discussion on the subject of Mugabe and the White African a serious discussion for you to follow at the USA- Africa dialogue series.
In most African circles where the delicate/sensitive subject of land distribution in Zimbabwe or South Africa is being discussed, you are either pro- Mugabe and Mau-Mau and pro “one settler one bullet” PAC or you are thought of as an uncle tom. In the heated discussions that have taken place these past years, many have gone as far as calling Morgan Tsvangirai a British-backed traitor.
So, it’s best to place the important matter about land distribution in context and in the context of that discussion which is part of the perennial discussion about the land problem in Zimbabwe, it reminds me very much about the basis of existence of the land known as Israel and its most essential and Divinely Sanctioned raison d’etre – an aspect of existence that Mugabe has failed to emphasis throughout these years when talking about his own country, perhaps because he has been following in the footsteps of Kwame Nkrumah’s dictum, “Seek ye first the political kingdom, and all else shall be added unto you” in contrast with Jesus of Nazareth’s Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven.
Mugabe is a Roman Catholic.
For me, the key to the greater understanding of what the Land issue means to the Zimbabweans turned up in the middle of that USA-Africa discussion with one of the discussants, an Africanist scholar John Edward Phillips popping up in a very timely fashion with an article that he had written in The Japan Times of Monday, July 28, 2008 and entitled Believe it or not, Mugabe still has supporters
As Bishop Desmond Tutu once said (and he has been widely quoted) “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”
Not that Zimbabwe would need a theology to de-justify Boer or other settler colonisation, but Mugabe could have fashioned a sort of political theology and done the world propaganda tour explaining justice and righteousness on the basis of the politics of Sacred Shona land theology
But with Israel everybody knows that it’s different: it’s the Almighty, His people Israel/Jeshurun, the Torah and the land of Israel and that the connection between the Almighty, the People of Israel, the Torah and the Land of Israel, is indivisible…..
The Torah portion for this Sabbath is Parashat Masei about the Children of Israel’s 42 journeys.
For those intent on reading the Torah as internal allegory, here’s 42 Journeys ….
Chazak! Chazak! Venischazeik !