I visited Zimbabwe twice during my time in Africa, both times on business. It was a strange time, when Zimbabwe was still run almost on civil lines, by a Black Administration headed by a Robert Mugabe who seemed to be running against the tide of Black-run Africa with sensible policies towards the farming and business communities, with little showing of the ruthless militaristic policies which dominated his latter rule. None of the tactics which latterly terrorised the farmers, with the bloodshed and plain theft had yet appeared, none of the confiscatory regimes were yet in place. Zimbabwe was being talked about as though it had broken the mould of repressive dictatorships which had bloomed throughout Africa.
The only jarring note was when the S.A.A. jet took off from Harare as I left, and ALL the Zimbabwean passengers applauded as the aircraft achieved height. Somehow I don’t believe the applause was all for the pilot.
Some twenty-seven years later, things are rather different. Page back with Cathy, if you will, and read of the slow, sad, but seemingly inevitable death of a Nation who once lived in a place which was often described as the ‘Breadbasket of Africa’. A Nation which has had it’s diamond mine output sales partially agreed by the Kimberley Process, but the profits from such sales remain invisible to the average Zimbabwean.
X-posted from A Tangled Web