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Monday, August 29, 2016

 

The Failure of African Socialism



Believe it or not, in 2005 in the NY Times we read this:

BINGA, ZIMBABWE - The hungry children and the families dying of AIDS here are gut-wrenching, but somehow what I find even more depressing is this: Many, many ordinary black Zimbabweans wish that they could get back the white racist government that oppressed them in the 1970's.

"If we had the chance to go back to white rule, we'd do it," said Solomon Dube, a peasant whose child was crying with hunger when I arrived in his village. "Life was easier then, and at least you could get food and a job."

Mr. Dube acknowledged that the white regime of Ian Smith was awful. But now he worries that his 3-year-old son will die of starvation, and he would rather put up with any indignity than witness that.

An elderly peasant in another village, Makupila Muzamba, said that hunger today is worse than ever before in his seven decades or so, and said: "I want the white man's government to come back. Even if whites were oppressing us, we could get jobs and things were cheap compared to today."

His wife, Mugombo Mudenda, remembered that as a younger woman she used to eat meat, drink tea, use sugar and buy soap. But now she cannot even afford corn gruel. "I miss the days of white rule," she said.

Nearly every peasant I've spoken to in Zimbabwe echoed those thoughts, although it's also clear that some still hail President Robert Mugabe as a liberator. This is a difficult place to gauge the mood in, because foreign reporters are barred from Zimbabwe and promised a prison sentence of up to two years if caught. I sneaked in at Victoria Falls and traveled around the country pretending to be a tourist.

The human consequences of the economic collapse are heartbreaking. I visited a hospital and a clinic that lacked both medicines and doctors. Children die routinely for want of malaria medication that costs just a few dollars.

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Comments:
My father was a medical missionary in Rhodesia. One of my childhood friends who stayed there to keep on doing missionary work died there a couple of years ago. He was born in Binga.
 
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