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are all indigenous
Judith Todd, Zimbabwe Independent
March 18, 2010
Under the Economic
Empowerment Regulations 2010 an indigenous Zimbabwean is defined
as "any person who, before the 18th April, 1980, was disadvantaged
by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race, and
any descendant of such person..." This, thankfully, covers
every person then living here.
I, for example, was born
in the Midlands at Dadaya in what was then termed a Native Reserve,
now Runde communal lands. While Dadaya was becoming a centre of
academic excellence, the alma mater of students such as Ndabaningi
Sithole, Cephas Msipa, Misheck Sibanda etc I couldn-t enrol
there as I wasn-t black. I had to attend a white school, the
nearest being in Zvishavane, where the children were being "unfairly
discriminated" against (what is "fair discrimination"?)
by being segregated from contemporary black, Asian, coloured etc
kids, thus unable to make friends with them or to learn languages
other than English.
They were also
being damaged by the inculcation, deliberate or otherwise, of the
insane belief that to be white was to be superior, unless they were
little Jews, Greeks, Portuguese, Italians or others from a non Anglo-Saxon
genesis who were regarded as being not quite white.
All members of every
community were also being unfairly disadvantaged and damaged, spiritually,
physically and mentally, by the cruel suppression of blacks under
the rampant leaders of the white minority. This suppression was
rooted in the 1931 Land Apportionment Act described in 1964 by the
Constitutional Council, a body created to review existing legislation,
as "the embodiment of racial discrimination... responsible
for not only intangible prejudice but actual material prejudice
in the financial sense to all races in Southern Rhodesia ...."
The 1957 manifesto
of the African National Congress, then lead by Joshua Nkomo, stated
that its aim was "national unity of all inhabitants of the
country in true partnership regardless of race, colour and creed.
It stands for a completely integrated society, equality of opportunity
in every sphere and the social, economic and political advancement
of all " . . . Banned, it was replaced by the equally non-racial
National Democratic Party where, to the horror of government, the
overwhelmingly black membership was slightly increased by a number
of whites, Asians and Coloureds. When banned, it was replaced by
the non-racial Zimbabwe African People-s Union (ZAPU), from
which the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) broke away in 1963.
By now a contrived, CIO-encouraged apartheid had taken root and
those few whites who may have wanted to join were unfairly excluded
from membership of Zanu because of their race.
It is difficult, painful,
and maybe temporarily impossible for contemporary Zimbabweans, victims
of decades of ceaseless racist, religious and tribal and brain-damaging
propaganda and violence from one side or another, to comprehend
the human intricacies of what was an essentially non-racial struggle
for freedom, independence, dignity and democracy embodied in the
word Zimbabwe. We are, for example, acquainted through the names,
although not deeply or honestly enough yet through dispassionate
histories of their lives, with some of the many black heroes of
Zimbabwe such as Charles Chikerema, Enoch Dumbutshena, Richard Hove,
George Nyandoro and Washington Sansole to name but a few.
But the names of their
non-black fellows in the struggle are yet to take their rightful
place in our history and this is possibly the explanation of how
latter-day Zimbabweans, such as Indigenisation minister Saviour
Kasukuwere, seem unaware that they ever existed.
In his oration at the
1986 funeral of one of our heroes, Lieutenant General Lookout Masuku,
Joshua Nkomo lamented the fact that Masuku had died a prisoner in
the hands of the Zimbabwe for which he had fought. "We cannot
blame colonialism and imperialism for this tragedy. We who fought
against these things now practise them. Why? Why? Why?... We are
enveloped in the politics of hate. The amount of hate that is being
preached today in our country is frightful. What Zimbabwe fought
for was peace, progress, love, respect, justice, equality, not the
He continued by warning
that "our country cannot progress on fear and false accusations
which are founded simply on the love of power. There is something
radically wrong with our country today and we are moving, fast moving,
towards destruction. There is confusion and corruption and, let
us be clear about it, we are seeing racism in reverse under the
false mirror of correcting imbalances from the past. In the process
we are creating worse things. We have created fear in the minds
of some in our country. We have made them feel unwanted, unsafe."
Nkomo concluded by regretting
that Masuku was not being buried at Heroes Acre. "But they
can-t take away his status as a hero. You don-t give
a man the status of a hero. All you can do is recognise it. It is
his. Yes, he can be forgotten temporarily by the state. But the
young people who do research will one day unveil what Lookout has
And research will also,
one day, unveil the fact that non-Zezurus too contributed mightily
to the struggle for and achievement of Zimbabwe. Amongst the many
names of those who fought and suffered for us a few, just to start
off with, are Mike Auret, Guy Clutton-Brock, Joseph Culverwell and
late Dr Hendrik Verwoerd would perhaps have been pleased to know
that even into the 21st century some are still in hot pursuit of
his goal of apartheid as evidenced by the regulations covering so-called
indigenisation and economic empowerment. But he may have been surprised
to learn that his few spiritual disciples of today are also members
of Zanu PF.
Todd and her father, Sir Garfield Todd, were among the victims of
white supremacy in Rhodesia during the struggle for Zimbabwe.
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