Ben Freeth has an extraordinary story to tell. Like that of many white farmers, his family's land was "reclaimed" by Mugabe's government for redistribution—but Ben's family fought back. Appealing to international law, they instigated a suit against Mugabe's government in the SADC, the Southern African equivalent of NATO. The case was deferred time and again while Mugabe's men applied political pressure to have the case thrown out. But after Freeth and his parents-in-law were abducted and beaten within inches of death in 2008, the SADC deemed any further delay to be an obstruction of justice. The case was heard, and successful on all counts. But the story doesn't end there—in 2009, the family farm was burned to the ground. The fight for justice in Zimbabwe is far from over; this book is for anyone who wants to see into the heart of one of today's hardest places, and how human dignity flourishes even in the most adverse circumstances.
As part of this blog tour I am not quite sure why I decided to read this book as I usually shy away of anything there is to do about Africa. My reasons stems of seeing my family sufferings relating to over twenty years of existence in Africa, in another time, another place...
We poured every resources we had in building a life on a continent that few people truly understand. 'Authenticity' was proclaimed: house, land, warehouses (Fibers) were reclaimed, 'questionnings' regularly happened and legal ressources came to naught.
Abandonned, all went back to the wild.
Ironically never for a moment did my father ever doubt the government was not in his rights. When reapatriated weighting only 52 kilogrammes, he lived only 3 more months believing all would turn out well in the end. He never stopped thinking of himself as anything else than a lawful citizen of the country who stripped him of everything he owned and loved.
I carefully read both Desmond Tutu and John Sentamu's forewords and after reviewing any available information about Mugabe, I decided I owed to Ben Freeth, Mike Campbell and their families to read their story.
Mugabe and the White African is a compelling narrative of families struggling to survive in a world gone mad. This however is not about whites and blacks but Africans who worked side by side to make a life for themselves and fought evil whilst uphelding their Christian beliefs.
I have never read a better account of the 'rule of law' in Zimbabwe and I feel deeply for the immense courage displayed by people whose only crime was to be white!
Ben Freeth is a rarety amongst whites living in Africa as he has fully accepted an evil spirit world is constantly working on the continent. There is no doubt in my mind either as too many things have happened without reason. Evil is ever present, ready to pull you down and it matters little about your skin colour!
Yet this man nevers fails to believe God is always with him! His faith is truly something to behold!
My heart went to Ben when I read his letter to his son on the occasion of his fourth birthday. A man of convictions, he truly believes there is a time to heal for all in the future of Zimbabwe and I marveled at his open letter to Mugabe in 2005.
'Mugabe and the White African' is the story of one man taking his unlawful eviction case to International courts and what happens when he and his family are systematically singled out and face unspeakable abuse.
Mike Campbell did not survive torture at the hands of Mugabe's lynchmen. Others also lost their lives or fled away.
The latest resurgence in violence in Zimbabwe is cause for concern for all residents, white and black! On the 19th of August 2011 the following notice was posted:
-Zimbabwe Daily News-
'Thousands of people have been left destitute after a spate of land invasions in Nyazura in recent months.
Four of the remaining five white commercial farms in the district have been invaded by a mob working for so called ‘beneficiaries’ of the land grab campaign. The mob is led by a self confessed CIO agent called Onisimas Makwengura, who has used intimidation and violence to force the farmers and their families to flee their homes. The mob in turn has been given free rein to loot the properties.'
This is not easy to read material but it should be read by all, anyone who believes in right and wrong and God!
You will find a glossary to help with African words and a startling timeline as well as maps to help you better understand the unimaginable courage of today's farmers in Zimbabwe!
This one can only be 5 stars!
About the Author:
Ben Freeth, MBE, is a British-born Zimbabwean farmer. He has lived in Zimbabwe most of his life and is raising his three young children there, together with his wife Laura. Ben's story has already been the subject of an award-winning documentary which won Best Documentary 2009 (British Independent Film Awards), was nominated for the BAFTA Outstanding Debut Film 2010, and shortlisted for an Oscar in 2010.
The PBS debut of Mugabe and the White African, the award-winning documentary of the same name, was on July 26. Watch now at PBS: http://www.pbs.org/pov/mugabe/.
Blog Tour schedule information:http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13422041)
KREGEL PUBLICATIONS IS SPONSORING A $50 AMAZON.COM GIVEAWAY OPEN TO ALL BLOG READERS!
About the Giveaway:
To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using @litfuse) about Mugabe and the White African or share about it on Facebook!
I received this book free from LITFUSE as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.