18 April, 1980. The ground shakes in Harare with stamping feet. Buildings tremble with jubilant voices. The crowds rush to see him speak. He is handsome, well educated and a great orator. A person for the people: calm and collected. Prime Minister Robert Mugabe is 56 years old when he is inaugurated, with Canaan Banana as president. But Mugabe is the stern favourite, speaking to the core of the masses.
“Long live our freedom!
Long live our sovereignty!
Long live our independence!”
The Shona people claim Rhodesian soil is red with the bloodshed of civil war. They are tired of 16 years of fighting and tired of Ian Smith’s policies. Rufaro Stadium is packed to its maximum capacity. John Moyo*, a civil servant at the time, attended the celebrations. He claims the media went mad: “Long live Mugabe!” and “Good old Bob!” ran as headlines for…
As a child, I valued all living things. I would collect crickets and dragonflies in the kitchen and set them free in the garden. As I grew up, those small things transformed into valuable assets: the values of patience, integrity, honesty, courage, kindness and forgiveness.
During the June holidays, I was on my way to Zimbabwe, the land of my birth, after living in South Africa for the last 20 years. It was time to go back to the garden filled with those noisy crickets.
The plane takes off from Johannesburg an hour late. My brother and I wait patiently, knowing our dad has been expecting us for the last three hours.
In Harare, we are greeted with sour faces: “Why are you here? What do you want?” At R300 or $30 US (the country has decided its own exchange rate), we finally get our…