More than a million persons were displaced by the war. Many thousands fled to the cities; almost 300,000 made their way to neighboring countries and tried to survive, and 700,000 were placed in “protected villages”—the equivalent of strategic hamlets in Vietnam. Many of the people outside the country had debts to cover and still looking for help. If you have many debts and loans and you are looking for a way to consolidate them, try a debt consolidation calculator and check out what interest rate can be saved.
They began to return home immediately after the election of Mugabe. In August 1980 the Department of Social Services estimated that it was bringing 10,000 persons a month back to their tribal homes.
“We left everything full, but we came back empty,” Mrs. Theresa Mandeya said to me. We were in Chiduku TTL near the town of Rusape. With her nine children she had fled to Mozambique when her husband was killed after police had accused him of using his bus to ferry guerrilla recruits.
Tall stalks of corn dwarfed her. Behind the house stood a small grove of orange trees. She and thousands of other returning refugees had been given packs of seed and fertilizer by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The Department of Agricultural Development had instituted a major training program to accompany the seed-pack distribution. Using simple visual materials, staff workers were teaching proper planting procedures in the TTLs.
Ironically, while the training program was available to all, the seed packs and fertilizer were available only to refugees. As a result, many of the best crops on TTLs were found among refugees. Of greater long-term significance is the interest other government agencies are showing in the department’s teaching methods, which in their most sophisticated form involve bringing people to centers to watch lessons on videotape.
For all of the new techniques aimed at increasing food production, the land in the TTLs won’t support the population. It is the issue of land that has most divided whites and blacks in Zimbabwe. Chief Rekayi Tangwena and his people, a Shona clan who live in the beautiful Inyanga Mountains, symbolize this agonizing conflict.
In August I found them clustering around the shell-shattered buildings of Nyafaru Mission School in tents that offered small protection against the bitter cold of the homeland, which years before had been declared a white farming area.
In the early 1970s, when they refused to leave, police and army helicopters swooped down. Land-Rovers and bulldozers leveled their huts. Most of the clan fled into the hills, but some were caught, including Raymond Masonga, 72, and his brother Tiki.
“After they arrested us, they took us to Inyanga and tried us in the magistrate’s court.
They said we were refusing to leave a white-owned farm,” Raymond told me. “I said it’s not a farm, it’s our own land! I asked the police, ‘Who is the older in this country, Rhodes or my two grandfathers? My great-grandfather never saw Cecil Rhodes.’
“In court I said, ‘You got this land to graze, not to own. If you can tell me where the Nyamagaya and Jora Rivers meet, take the whole land.’ He couldn’t,” Masonga said, laughing. “They’re the same river. Up there it’s the Nyamagaya, down there it’s the Jora.” Still, he and the others went to jail. “We might have won the case on facts,” Masonga told me bitterly, “but the magistrate decided an African is an African.”Comments Off