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Old 06-28-2017, 06:43 PM
 
178 posts, read 84,713 times
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Originally Posted by Geezerrunner View Post
I recently flew by Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa to Harare in Zimbabwe. I stayed over Christmas 2016 and the first couple of weeks of the new year with my daughter and her family, initially in their house in Harare and then at the Malilangwe Trust in the Lowveld.
I have fond memories of my childhood in Rhodesia, where I lived until 1970, leaving at the age of nineteen after my first year of university. My parents and sister and I moved to Canada because of the civil war which was by then becoming very nasty. Salisbury was, at that time, a modern city with some modest skyscrapers and an airport capable of handling Boeing 707s.
I had been back with my Canadian wife in 1978, shortly before the first of two surface to air missile attacks against civilian passenger aircraft which ultimately resulted in the negotiations which led to majority rule. By now security was everywhere. We saw civilian men and women openly carrying automatic weapons as they went shopping or walked to work, and all shops had a security desk where women had to empty their bags to ensure they were not carrying a bomb. Cars had been stopped out of town by terrorist road blocks, their occupants shot and the cars set on fire. Farmers would drive their oldest, least productive cows up the driveway each morning in case of land mines. But life in the suburbs was still peaceful.

My son had also stayed with his sister for five weeks in 2005, when the economy was in ruins mainly due to the "indigenisation" policies of the Mugabe government, and suffering from crazy inflation. He came back enchanted by Africa in spite of having to pay $18 million for a beer!

When I was growing up Rhodesia was one of the last outposts of British Colonialism, with very English way of life and a very high standard of living for whites. The city streets were well paved, clean and well lit, attractively shaded by flowering trees, with beautiful public gardens, golf courses, tennis courts, cricket grounds and graceful public buildings. Life for me, as a white teenager, was spent mostly with friends enjoying outdoor activities.
It should have been clear, though, that it was unrealistic to expect public swimming pools to remain available only to whites, access to higher education or civil service jobs or voting rights severely restricted for the majority of the population. The "winds of change" to use the famous phrase, were sweeping through the continent.

I had mixed emotions about going back: I wanted to see how things had changed, wanted to see my daughter and her family whom I had not seen since they visited North America five years ago, and was a bit homesick for the landscape and animals. I did not want to find that my memories were all the result of a rose tinted nostalgia.

The officials at the airport and a majority of the passengers were black, which was definitely not the case 50 years ago! The highway into town was two lanes each way and used solar powered street lighting. There was a huge number of roadside vendors of African carvings, fruit and vegetables, newspapers, souvenirs of all sorts and even clothing and prepaid cellphone cards and things like metal buckets and tubs, used car tires and pirated movie dvd's. With extremely high unemployment possibly above 70%, people are forced to make a living any way they can. Prostitution and drug dealing are said to be a problem. Roads become much worse as we get into town, potholes everywhere, streetlights leaning over, stop signs faded and apparently the same ones that were in use when I was a teenager. Many buildings are defaced with graffiti and hasve steel window bars or walls with razor wire.
We have to stop twice at police road blocks in the twenty miles back to the house. The procedure is that the police check the stickers on the windshield to make sure the vehicle registration, insurance and radio license are up to date. (A license is required to listen to the radio.) Windows and lights are checked for cracks and sometimes the trunk may be checked to see if there is a warning triangle which must be used on the road behind the car if changing a tire due to a puncture. If any of these items is not acceptable the police want a $20 fine, usually paid in cash as the government has difficulty paying civil servants due to very limited funds. At intersections there are sometimes police watching for driving infringements, so it is wise to come to a complete stop for 6 seconds, and of course, not use your phone in the car.
We pull in to a gas station, but they have only diesel, and kerosene for lamps. The second station we try also has diesel but no gas. At the third station we buy gas, paying by "Eco Bank" a wireless payment made by cellphone.
The suburbs are beautiful but all the houses surrounded by high walls with electric fences on top to prevent theft. Steel gates open by a remote control similar to a garage door opener. Visitors press a buzzer to be let in by someone inside the house. When we get inside I see an ornamental wrought iron "rape gate" in the corridor leading to the bedrooms, to prevent theft or personal attacks. Fortunately, this is no longer needed and is left open.

A few days later we drive down to Malilangwe in the Chiredzi district. The roads are awful and hazardous at night. Cars ahead will suddenly slam on their brakes and swerve violently to avoid a ten-foot-wide pothole or a donkey. at the side of the road we pass several cars and a bus which have apparently broken down and not been worth repairing. Rather than being towed to a wrecking yard they have been picked clean by locals to the point that only the bare body remains- no motor or transmission, no sears or interior, no wheels or brakes or axles. Most of the cars on the road are smaller models from the Japanese manufacturers, with some SUV's, mostly diesels.
My son-in-law is director of the operations of the trust, which aims to preserve and restore the natural bio-diversity of the region. There is a breeding program for rhinos, educational programs for scouts and school students on wildlife, erosion and other issues. The trust also runs a meal program feeding 19,000 school children whose parents, without this incentive to send their children to school, would likely have them looking after herds of cattle or goats.
The landscape and wildlife are fantastic. It is easy to look from a hilltop and look across the flat landscape which must have looked exactly the same thousands of years ago- not a power line or road visible to the horizon. We go on drives to see herds of elephant, rhinos, antelope and buffalo, zebra, giraffe and lions.
It was the trip of a lifetime for me, and while much has changed, some for better, some for worse, it was a wonderful experience!
Thank you so much for that vivid description of place many of us have never been and probably never will.
Thats not to sound snarky so please dont think I meant anything more than gratitude for you sharing.
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Old 07-03-2017, 06:09 PM
 
7,437 posts, read 5,941,189 times
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Originally Posted by SenseSoCommon View Post
Thank you so much for that vivid description of place many of us have never been and probably never will.
Thats not to sound snarky so please dont think I meant anything more than gratitude for you sharing.

I actually thought that his account was quite fair and balanced, given the tremendous difficulties that Zimbabwe is now encountering and the fact that life for some one like him in Rhodesia would have been quite good, but for the war.

Good that he seems to communicate the complexities of the issue.
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Old 07-03-2017, 07:21 PM
 
4,342 posts, read 2,271,209 times
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Originally Posted by BeauCharles View Post
As if they have them now. You're correct - neither option was/is right, but one could argue a functioning country with decent employment opportunities and a much higher life span (adequate food and medical care) was the more "right" of the two poor choices. They're still ruled by a minority who feather their own beds at the expense of the rest of the population, its just that minority's skin color has changed.
Yes the country was known as the breadbasket of Africa and yet after Mugabe came to power soon had to import their food but it was inevitable that change would come. Cecil Rhodes was an avowed racist - the locals would never be equal or have equal rights during his time or rule by his party. Were many (even most) of the slaves better off prior to the civil war than directly after ? Yes - undoubtedly so. Still that does not mean the old south should have maintained their slavery laws. One could argue that delaying that change caused it to be worse when it did come. Unfortunately they have been led by the typical African despot who squandered his head start and steadily drove his country downhill. Africa deserves better leaders.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:47 PM
 
465 posts, read 152,816 times
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Originally Posted by Vacanegro View Post
Yes the country was known as the breadbasket of Africa and yet after Mugabe came to power soon had to import their food but it was inevitable that change would come...Were many (even most) of the slaves better off prior to the civil war than directly after ? Yes...Unfortunately they have been led by the typical African despot who squandered his head start and steadily drove his country downhill. Africa deserves better leaders.
Africa should go back to belonging to the animals. Anyone who decides against it can be sent to empty deserts. It is sickening to see how far gone are the rhinos, the elephants, the lions, and how many other species. Who has let this happen and for what justifiable reasons has it happened? Seems there are no justifiable reasons for species extinctions because animals have been over-hunted and then the land dries up and blows away and then some may wonder what happened. Everything got denied.
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:03 AM
 
5,823 posts, read 10,163,236 times
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Default Absolutely true

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Originally Posted by Orion Rules View Post
Africa should go back to belonging to the animals. Anyone who decides against it can be sent to empty deserts. It is sickening to see how far gone are the rhinos, the elephants, the lions, and how many other species. Who has let this happen and for what justifiable reasons has it happened? Seems there are no justifiable reasons for species extinctions because animals have been over-hunted and then the land dries up and blows away and then some may wonder what happened. Everything got denied.

The Earth is going right now through its sixth species extinction, and a lot of that extinction is taking place in Africa
REQUIEM FOR THE PLANET
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