After my editorial was published yesterday, I found that it had been picked up elsewhere in the world and that it was gaining the attention of various people scattered all over the globe.
And I received a few (albeit the distinct minority) emails from interested people demanding that I explain myself. I was asked to explain just why I should daily write about Mugabe and his destructive rule.
“Sidney” who claimed to be from Harare displayed his lack of schooling by peppering his email to me with horrendously bad spelling – but he wanted to know why, if I live in the UK, was Mugabe’s rule the focus of my internet activities? (I am not about to re-publish the second part of his email which went to task on my heritage and made all manner of threats on me and my person. Suffice to say, my return email bounced…)
Well, if “Sidney” should ever read this, then he will hopefully understand.
Eleven years ago my family were contributing to the economy in gainful employment, when the illusion of security was viciously yanked out from underneath us when my wife was very nearly carjacked outside our house in Harare in broad daylight.
That was the straw that broke the camel’s back – and within six weeks we had left the country that we called “home”. We sold everything that we owned to purchase the air tickets along with travel documents – and that came to a grand total of ZW$42000 – not much in the grand scheme of things – but we were also allowed to take a total of £300 per person with us when we left – that, and 20 kilograms of luggage each.
How does one work out what to take and what to leave?
I left an awful lot of my life behind when we flew out just before Christmas of 1998. Just about the only thing that left intact were my memories.
Arriving in the United Kingdom was a great big shock! And eleven years later we realise that it is a consumer market based upon high-end technology and very little else.
How I long for the days of Zimbabwe – before Mugabe decided to take the country to the edge and give it a good push!
Another email from someone signing themselves as “Sangoma” intimated to me that my motives for writing about Zimbabwe and Mugabe were racist.
My reply email asked him to give me just one example of my racist agenda. That email remains unanswered.
When I write about Zimbabwe, I am very careful not to be racist, incite racial or religious hatred, whilst I will not use bad or foul language.
Zimbabwe is an emotive subject, and my continued writings on the subject are based on just three letters on my Zimbabwean national identity card.
The letters are “CIT” which mean that I am a registered citizen of that country – regardless of my English birth.
I am reminded of the words of a song that might have been sung by the late Bob Marley: “No matter where you come from, as long as you are a black man, you are an African”.
Paradoxically, my need to be Zimbabwean is driven by the utter devastation wrought in that country by one man who is not even a full Zimbabwean himself!
If Mugabe is not a full Zimbabwean, then why can I not consider myself a Zimbabwean and write about the destruction of the jewel of Africa?
When you point a finger at others, remember that three fingers are pointing back at yourself.
Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man