What’s it like being white in Zimbabwe at the moment?

The BBC received an email today from a white couple in Zimbabwe who say their farm has been invaded by war veterans. It comes after reports on Zimbabwe’s state television that war veterans have occupied 11 farms in the north-east of the country. The farm invasions were ignited by reports that some white farmers were returning to their former properties anticipating the opposition MDC ‘s victory.

We’re also going to look at the issue of being white in the current climate in Zimbabwe on today’s programme. We’ll be getting the views of white and black people in Zimbabwe. Your thoughts welcome as ever.

20 Responses to “What’s it like being white in Zimbabwe at the moment?”

  1. 1 eric swenson
    April 9, 2008 at 16:56

    isn’t it ironic that many black zimbabweans are expressing a desire to return to the “good old days” of colonialism. mugabe has completely destroyed this country and has inflicted upon the people a plague of misfortune of biblical proportions. it is horrific to see and hear what is happening there. why are all the “glamorous self absorbed superstars” so quiet about zimbabwe? is it because mugabe is a socialist true believer like them, who took away the whites’ productive farms and distributed it to the “people”?

  2. 2 Peter via email
    April 9, 2008 at 18:20

    The Balfour house agreements that ended the Rhodesian/Zimbabwe war included grants and loans from both the US and Britain to finance the transfer (with compensation) of farms from whites to black Zimbabweans.

    Mugabe used that money to pay his supporters and wealthy comrades, not to redistribute lands. Then in 2000 he started seizing farms claiming to be doing what he was meant to have done 30 years ago.

    Peter Noordijk

  3. 3 Gregory via email
    April 9, 2008 at 18:25

    How did these white farmers get all of this land in the first place. It’s hard for me to feel sorry for them.


  4. April 9, 2008 at 19:04

    I believe that we are seeing the last days of Robert Mugable, but black and white Zimbabweans have a lot to learn from his tortuous legacy.

    Whites must not kid themselves that they can come and grab their lands back following Mugabe’s ouster. They failed to realise that they needed to teach the Blacks how to fish in other to live peacefully together.

    It is the blacks who own the land and some form of equity must be struck before things can get better for both sides. Mugabe was too extreme to realise that equity.

    Tony Amadi

  5. April 9, 2008 at 19:09

    nothing to add or change

  6. 6 Angie, France
    April 9, 2008 at 19:17

    To Gregory, Houston, Texas………………The majority of the white farmers that were left in Zimbabwe in the year 2000 had been given letters “of no interest” from the zanu PF Government, prior to the land distribution. A great deal of farms were purchased AFTER independence, again with letters of “no interest”. You really need to look at the NOW to solve the problems of the future! If you keep harping on about what happened 100 years ago Africa will never gain its true independence. AND Greogry most of us white farmers could’nt care less whether you feel sorry for us or not!! We just want to be able to “feed” the people that cannot seem to feed themselves!!!

  7. 7 John van Dokkumburg
    April 10, 2008 at 08:35

    Mugabe has a stupide fist that says , i never shall let free the power i grab. For white our black keep this colour differance appart from politics, eyes shut , this isnt a modern open Zimbabianer Africaner, this is a stink .

  8. 8 John van Dokkumburg
    April 10, 2008 at 08:37

    This isnt a Africaner , a liarer is he.

  9. 9 Harry
    April 13, 2008 at 16:14

    What is happining in Zimbabwe is just what the west want to see. It is amazing that the westing world still believe duoble standards and selfishness is just what you want others to see as democracy.
    If the western world wand to improve the lives of Zimbabweans then they have to do buisness with Zimbabwe.
    Stop giving the people of Zimbabwe the impression that their lives will change after Mogabe.

    Zimbabwe is not for the UK or the USA and the EU. It is for black people but others can leave in pease as well with the owners of the land but not to control their lives and destiny.How many blacks own lands in the west and if they own lands how did they aquired them.

    Its very funny that some blacks are still being infuenced by the west to hate thier own people using democracy as an excuse.Maybe they should go back to thier sences and know that the west will never want to see them at the same level like them and my advice is start building your countries. state, cities and stopp following the west.

  10. 10 William J. Gibbons
    May 2, 2008 at 21:24

    I cannot believe how naive people can be who have never lived in Africa. After so-called “independence” from the UK in 1980, 83% of the white farms were actually purchased from the Mugabe government. Now Mugabe steals back what he sold to the white farmers – the very people he invited to stay, and who also just happen to be the most productive people in the country. Mugabe has destroyed what was a first-world economy in Africa by his disasterous Marxist policies and overtly tribalistic/racist attitude towards anyone who is not Shona. He was never a “liberation hero” no matter how you slice it.

    I find it hard to understand those liberal whites who love to vilify the late Ian Smith, the last true leader of the nation known as Rhodesia (its proper name), when Mugabe has committed virtual genocide against his own people for 27 years. Smith ran a prosperous well developed country, whereas Mugabe has practically reduced Zimbabwe to ashes. And for those who shout for the whites to “get out of Africa” because they “don’t belong there”, would it be OK if we take back all the white Africans, then round up all the blacks born in the West and send them back to Africa?

    Mugabe has simply proven to the world what he was from the beginning, a power hungry bastard puppet of the North Koreans and the Lybians who only ever wanted to the king of his own little Shona dominated Marxist empire. He got his wish, and his people are suffering dreadfully because of it.

    William J. Gibbons
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada

  11. 11 Dennis Young, Jr.
    May 11, 2008 at 08:52

    i am very hopeful that people in zimbabwe will
    get rid of robert mugabe regime as
    soon as possible……

    Madrid, United States of America

  12. June 1, 2008 at 06:04

    McMurdo Base, Antarctica…2008, 31 May…Well, once again it’s not hard to see what a bloody mess of things that “President” Robert Mugabe has made of Zimbabwe-Southern Rhodesia-Rhodesia UDI. The man pleasingly and patently invited the Caucasian minority to stay and help and farm and help the nation. Then without a moment’s notice, pulls the old Kim Jung-il-Saddam Hussein type dictatorship nonsense on the populous (African and Caucasian) of the nation, and through thievery, steals from them that which they rightly purchased from him, that is to say, their land. The President of a nation is supposed to guide and help the nation’s populace, not undermine it, as can be seen from the recent Operation Murambatsvina Razing -under the guise of cracking down on illegal markets and homes that had seen slums emerge in towns and cities. It’s also disconcerting to me to see that the inflation rate in Zimbabwe,(over 26,000%), has run amok with no end in sight!. Again, because of Robert Mugabe. Well, he might, in his twisted little mind, go down in history-but not as someone of respect, but more as a tin-pot dictator like Idi Amin, or some such other Greedy-Guts Gauleiter.

  13. 13 Rick Bartlett
    October 30, 2008 at 14:48

    My great uncle and his family were attacked one night and forced to leave their land and livelihood. They were attacked by a gang of blacks in the 1980’s, beaten, and also shot at. Their livestock were poisoned several days before the official attack, as well as their watering well filled with dirt, mud and anything else they could bring.

    They reported this to the authorities, but nothing was done. So, this has been going on for some time now but just in a more hush manner compared to today.

    My uncle has since died and his family have, for many years, filed multiple complaints to the government, but nothing has been done. From my last correspondence with them, the farm has basically died off and the blacks living on the land are doing nothing with it. No new animals are being raised nor is the land being used productively. This is what angers me the most. So much thought was placed into the taking of land, but no thought was placd in its upkeep or living sustainability of the land.

    My uncle was born in Zimbabwe, as was his wife and her family. They were African, maybe not of black decent, but African non-the-less. The Zimbabwe government’s actions are raping Africa, not returning Africa.

    Rick Bartlett

  14. 14 Eric
    January 6, 2009 at 07:21

    I am a college graduate in the United States, and never even knew anything about Rhodesia/Zimbabwe until recently, and only by chance. Very few Americans even know where Zimbabwe/former Rhodesia is, let alone its history. The situation makes me shudder. It seems as though “Rhodesia” as it was under UDI would be a place I would have wanted to live, and it’s hard to believe what has transpired over the years. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be stuck in Zimbabwe under Mugabe. The people of Zimbabwe have my deepest sympathies.

  15. 15 Elias
    August 23, 2009 at 02:52

    “They failed to realise that they needed to teach the Blacks how to fish…”

    Interesting. Did that means blacks aren´t capable to develope those skills even when they have the government of their own country? Who teach whites to fish? Mugabe grab power since 1980!!!! Enough time to teach their own people.

  16. 16 louise
    August 29, 2009 at 11:51

    i am appalled at what i have read about zimbabwe, i dont understand how we, people in First World Countries can sit our sofas, dinner half eaten, drink in hand watching TV on our 50” flat screens and do nothing about the situation in zimbabwe, the once “jewel of Africa”. Robert Mugabe needs to retire, willing or not. thats not going to happen unless the MDC receive help from outside. Mugabe is committing countless murders and anyone who dares to question or demand why they are being kicked off their own forefathers farms are taken to jail unregistered where food, water and lawyers can’t find them. I have not experienced this first hand, so if i am wrong in any of this please correct me. i would be more than thankful to hear that what i have read has been exaggerated or incorrect in any way. ZIMBABWE NEEDS HELP!!

  17. 17 al
    October 15, 2009 at 03:27

    The difference between those who colonized the western hemisphere (from Canada south to Argentina and Chile), Australia, and New Zealand as opposed to those who colonized Africa is the fact that the former decimated the native people in their respective countries whereas the Whites in Africa did not. Those in Africa became hooked on the good life that cheap labor affords them, therefore the native people multiplied and the result is what happened in Rhodesia and, now, South Africa. If one looks around in North & South America and Australia, he doesn’t see an abundance of Indians or Aborigines. Perhaps the Whites in those countries should have followed the examples of the other countries and they would still rule Rhodesia and the parts of Africa that was colonized by Europeans.

  18. 18 Mike Wild
    October 21, 2009 at 11:52

    With Mugabe out of the way things will not change in Zimbabwe. What could and probably would happen is that his Generals will take over in a millitary Coup. Time for action my friends, there has been too much talk already. We, the concerned people need to form a fund and put the money together to make the changes in Zimbabwe. There is only one solution for the country and that is to nutralise the millitary and put a fairly elected leader in power who is monitored by the west until the country is back on track and prosperous once again. A lot of money is needed so lets stop the talking and get real. Let us discuss how we can implement this.

  19. 19 Mike Wild
    October 21, 2009 at 12:53

    In case there is a huge response to my last chat, we will need to come up with about £50Million to fund the recovery of Zimbabwe. Are there any big sponsors out there to kick off with ?

  20. March 26, 2010 at 14:13

    In response to Mike Wild’s rediculous gesture of throwing away more money to assist in chaos and anarchy, I say let’s wait until Mugabe and his regime are thrown out of power by whosoever, using violence if nothing else works.
    We can the begin to rebuild that stricken country.
    One certainty is that without a substantial white mans presence to re-organise and manage the finances correctly, no mponey should be given, also where would the technology come from if major companies were not involoved and modern construction techniques used, as clearly they are back in the midle ages of development.
    Before major investment stability must be achieved so that they who are trying rebuild this forlorn country are able to do so, without fear of becoming breakfast in one of the Patreotic Fronts Stewing Pots with yet more money down the drain.
    Tom Bull
    Ex Rhoseian

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