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We didn't properly reform", he says, "This is reflected in the political and cultural

orientation of our young people. As a result of this, most of our universities

are mostly staffed with right wing, pro-west lecturers.



Reporting Zimbabwe

By Lester Lewis


Watching the dawn break over Zimbabwe, the orange sky on the horizon is like a sash between the earth and the blue sky. Flying over Africa through the night is an uneventful experience except for the American spy satellite that is spying on Africa. It is the brightest object in the night sky. To me, this is a hostile act on the part of America.

When our plane comes in to land, it suddenly begins to climb, goes round in a circle and comes in to land again. Approaching the runway, it suddenly starts climbing again. This time, it does circle but continues to climb higher and higher in the morning sky. All the time, it is gaining speed.

Then the Captain announces that he has diverted to Lusaka in Zambia. He had intended to divert to Bulawayo but there is no fuel there. The stewardess announces that Lusaka is a refueling stop. On the way, I look for The Smoke that Thunders misnamed the Victoria Falls. I do not catch a glimpse but we fly over a River that I assume to be the Zambezi.

After taking on fuel, we fly to Harare and land without any problem. The earlier attempts were aborted because the runway was enveloped in a fog and could not be seen by the captain. The fuel problem in Zimbabwe has messed up my planned schedule. I had planned to travel overland to South Africa. But I am advised against this because of the fuel problem. I want to visit an old woman in Masvingo; 300 kilometers from Harare but can not do so because of the fuel problem.

The Member of Parliament for Mashonaland Central can not take me to his constituency because there is a fuel problem. There does not seem to be a shortage of fuel to get me to Mutare in Manicaland. Only my hosts are likely to be engaged on pressing security problems at that time. I had noted in Lusaka that it was British Petroleum that was refueling the aircraft. In Harare, I note that all the petrol stations are foreign owned.

British newspapers and the BBC World Service anti-Zimbabwe claim that motorists have to queue for two days to buy petrol, but this is a deliberate lie. True, there are queues at petrol stations as motorists await deliveries. My host was in the queue foe less than one hour.

Harare is a bustling city with wide streets lined with Jacaranda, Msusa, and Mutondo trees. Despite shortages of fuel, there are large numbers of vehicles on the roads. Queues at petrol stations are not half as long as people overseas are led to believe. But there is a shortage of foreign currency needed to buy fuel and this shortage of fuel is causing enormous damage to the economy.

The Government does not have the necessary foreign exchange (forex) to buy fuel.  Neither does it have the forex needed to pay for electricity imported from Mozambique. One would have thought that given the extremely close relationship between ZANU-PF and FRELIMO the ruling party in Mozambique, some kind of arrangement could have been made to supply electricity on credit. During the period when apartheid was still rampant in Southern Africa, the apartheid rulers had armed and trained RENAMO to cause havoc in Mozambique. 

The Zimbabwe Army cleared the corridor between Mutare in Zimbabwe and the Mozambican port of Beira for goods to be transported between the two countries, this earning much needed income for the FRELIMO Government. The shortage of fuel and electricity is harming economic production. The two car assembling plants, Leyland Mutare and Master Willowvale are not assembling cars since there is this lack of power. When the African Scientists Network formed by Tom Dalgety of Guyana and Godfrey Marawanyika of Zimbabwe offered to work with the Government to provide Zimbabwe with all its energy requirements, the then Minister in charge of the Ministry was not interested. I understand that he has since been relieved of his Cabinet post. 

Mr Maranyika is an expert on solar energy and biotechnology, working with the Center for Renewable Energy and Environmental Technology. They are specialists in using solar, biomass, and wind to provide energy. He has agreed to take responsibility for the building of a prototype bio-gas plant in the Gambia. This will provide biogas for cooking, lighting, refrigeration, and fuel for stationary engines and gasifiers for stationary engines applications. A byproduct of the production of organic fertilizer. In his garden, along with his chickens, bananas, sugarcane, tomatoes, maize, beans, and fruit trees, he has a solar cooker and a solar energy. He produces bio-gas in his garden using rotting fruits. These low technology applications can be replicated especially in rural areas, which have yet to receive the electricity supply.

One wonders why SADEC and the African Union do not develop a program of using biomass, solar energy, and wind to generate energy that is so much needed to kick start industrial development. Dr. David Gazi, a Zimbabwean scientist teaching in Britain has ideas to develop fuel cell technology that could revolutionise the production of energy, but the authorities have not given him the help that he needs.

In a radio phone-in programme, an official of the National Economic Development Forum is saying that Zimbabwe must industrialise. He says that what is needed is a policy. He does not talk about he necessity for a well thought out plan, a time-scale and a program of implementation. Chen Chimutengwende, the Member of Parliament for Mashonaland Central says that there is a policy to industrialise Zimbabwe, but "it is not adequately designed. You can not industrialise when you are in a state of war. Industrialisation occurs when there is no major conflict within society and the economy is functioning normally. If the level of conflict is too high the economy is operating under siege as is the case in Zimbabwe, then a lot of economic policies can not be implemented."

One of the elements in the Pan African Program for Africa to regain its lost power and restore its past glory calls on African industrialists to master the manufacturing process from the manufacturing of machine tools to the production of finished goods. No potential manufacturer working on his own will be capable of doing this. This process calls for state; regional and continental initiatives for the short, medium and long term. Then, Africa will be able to produce what it consumes and consume what it produces.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is openly boasting that it will wreck the economy unless President Mugabe leaves power. But if President Mugabe were to give up the Presidency, the MDC will still have to contend with the well-organised machine of the ruling ZANU-PF party that is the majority party in Parliament, in local Councils and which controls the state machinery.

My host tells me that the MDC is an urban party confined to the towns and cities. It is not known in the rural areas. Most of the population live in the rural areas and they know only ZANU-PF. Considering that the mass action called by the MDC the week starting on 2nd June was a massive flop, the MDC boasts of its ability to shut down the country at will. But was the closing of businesses a stay-away as the MDC claims or was it a lock out? The Government newspaper, The Herald, claims that there was no stay away, there was a lockout.

The Government is convinced that it was a lockout. It had made threats against the 300 leading businesses that control he economy, most of which are British owned. Now the Government has produced plans to take away the licenses of those businesses that lock down their businesses and lock out their workers in solidarity with the MDC. Chen Chimutengwende takes the view hat some businesses can close and their licenses can not then be taken away. Others can have their licenses taken away.  It is a matter of dealing with them -- company by company on a case by case basis. He says, "The majority of companies are either Anglo-South African or Anglo-American. They control the economy. The only sector that has seen success is the land and banking sectors where Blacks have moved in a significant way."

The Government has also said that it will take action against providers of public services such as banks, schools, financial institutions, and public transport fleets that shut down in solidarity with the MDC. The process of indigenisation is to be used to transfer ownership on indigenous Zimbabweans.

Among the war veterans and ZANU-PF youth, there is much anger that Indian-owned businesses shut down in solidarity with the MDC. Culturally speaking, Zimbabwe is a very anglicised society. One hardly sees any Zimbabwean men or women dressed in African apparel. European style of dressing is the norm. All the politicians in their European suits set the example that others follow. On a visit to London, local artist Albert Nyathi said, "Zimbabwean youths adopted American culture because of what they saw on Zimbabwe television." So one wonders when the ruling party is going to heed Frantz Fanon's call for re-Africanisation. 

One wonders when they are going to start promoting African culture rather than Euro-American culture in their television programmes. Looking at the children's programmes listed in The Herald, one sees Preston Pig, Postman Pat, New Andrews Family, The Mummy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Gypsy Girl. So there is definitely a need for the Africanisation of children's programmes on Zimbabwe television. African stories, which teach ethics and moral values, can be animated and made into television programmes for children. Questioned about the education system, Chimutengwende says that the education system was not properly reformed. "We didn't properly reform", he says, "This is reflected in the political and cultural orientation of our young people. As a result of this, most of our universities are mostly staffed with right wing, pro-west lecturers.

"This is shown by their writings and speeches. They even made an appeal to the United States and Britain to do an Iraq on Zimbabwe. This shows the extent of their Eurocentric nature and their anti-African stance. They are against the idea of an African Union but support the idea of a European Union. They are like that because they are western educated. It is a matter of choice. People like Kwame Nkrumah were educated in the West but they did not chose to be pro-Western.

"They are like parrots mouthing the phraseology of the G8 countries like the introduction of good governance. They become champions of good governance despite its content. They hope to attract western funding for their research projects.

"NGOs are mainly western funded and you know that he whom pays the piper calls the tune. Dr. Shakespear Moya's party is a National Party for Good Governance. NGOs, because they are western funded, are more political than developmental. They are agents of western countries." For Zimbabwe, the main hope for the future is the Land Reform Program that took economic power out of the hands of Whites and put it in the hands of Blacks. The Government is saying that by next year, agricultural production would take off and Zimbabwe would once more be self-sufficient in food. Others are telling me the opposite. It seems that some senior members of ZANU-PF have fallen short of the radical ideals of President Mugabe. 

An internal audit carried out by the Government have found that some people have more that one farm contrary to Government policy. Commercial farms are 2500 hectares in size. I am told that in one case, a senior member of ZANU-PF forcibly removed peasants who had taken over a farm previously owned by whites. This is a reflection of greed. It is anti-African and a deviation from African culture that emphasizes that the needs of all must be met.

Dr. Nathan Shamuyarira tells me, "Many of the workers who were on farms have been given plots on which to farm for themselves, whether they are from Malawi, from Zambia, or from Mozambique. In some areas, all farm workers are now employed. Previous farm workers are now landowners.

"There was a campaign among farm workers to encourage them to apply for farms but there was resistance. They were organised by White farm owners to counter our Land Reform Program." Asked about stories in the British media that farm workers from other African countries were deported, he responds vehemently, "Not a single farm worker has been deported. We gave them land and we gave them citizenship." One local paper, The Sunday Mirror, published an article on 15 June entitled "Land Reform Displaces Thousands." The writer Antwell Nduyemba reported "75 percent of the estimated 400,000 farm were rendered jobless and homeless by the land redistribution exercise undertaken between 2000 and last year." The article claimed, "former farmhands are destitute and collectively, they are facing a humanitarian crisis."

Chen Chimutengwende responds to criticisms of the Land Reform Program in these words, "there are lots of problems with land reform like in any revolution. But they can be corrected. These are problems that the government has enumerated and are in the process of correcting. The important issue is the principle that land must be given to the Blacks and this is what has happened. All other problems associated with Land Reform are secondary and fortunately, they are correctable."

The problems that afflict Zimbabwe today are problems created for it by Western imperialism and their financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The Government made a mistake by adopting an IMF Structural Reform program. After the first phase, they told the Government that they had done very well but to get assistance under the second phase, imposed conditions that would mean they Government had no say in economic development and would lose control of their currency.

They called for privatisation of the Reserve Bank. These were conditions too far and the Government did not accept them. Since then, the IMF and World Bank have laid siege to the Zimbabwe economy. Spurred on by Britain, which has lost control of the Zimbabwean economy, the European Union imposed illegal economic sanctions and illegal travel bans on 72 leading members of ZANU-PF. US election stealer George Bush has also imposed illegal sanctions and illegal travel bans on Zimbabwe. He has called for a regime change in Zimbabwe. 

He [Bush] did get a regime change in Venezuela but the masses of Venezuelans, most of whom are of African descent, restored their hero Hugo Chavez to power. A three-month business strike by the Venezuelan businesses resulted in defeat for the enemies of Chavez. The Venezuelan masses stood solidly behind Chavez. To me, this is proof if proof was needed of Mao Tsetung's dictum that the masses are the real makers of history. In Zimbabwe, the masses are solidly behind President Mugabe and ZANU-PF.

The African Union has stood solidly behind the Zimbabwe Government in its Land Reform Program. They need to take one further step to help to ease the crisis in Zimbabwe. When Guinea became independent in 1958, the French colonisers removed everything including light bulbs from Guinea. Kwame Nkrumah, then President of Ghana, transferred massive funds to Guinea under President Sekou Toure to help Guinea out of its financial crisis.

Now, Zimbabwe needs help to break the economic and financial siege on the Zimbabwe economy by western imperialism. African Union countries must band together and give Zimbabwe a large chunk of foreign exchange to ease the forex crisis that is at the root of the economic problems in that country. Such an act will mean that Zimbabwe will begin to see the light again and ensure the defeat of western imperialism in Zimbabwe.

Lester Lewis was born on the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent. He is a Pan African activist, writer and historian living in Britain.

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Launching the Pedagogical History of Africa Project in Harare yesterday [5 September 2011] , President Mugabe said . . . "The history that must be written by our African scholars and academics here is the history that focuses on African people in struggle as creators of their own destiny rather than mere consumers of stories written about them by passive on-lookers who oftentimes happen to be non-African outsiders . . . . Real history belongs to a people in struggle and not to the interpreters of history. The people themselves are the makers of history and therefore the real historians. The interpreters are mere raconteurs of history and not the actual history-makers as is often wrongly implied . . . Only this way can we avoid history written by colonialists as 'winners'. Our real winners are the people, whose real history or struggle the so-called winners would like to distort and suppress . . . You cannot be a historian of African people if you do not share their cry or their laughter. No. The African sensibility, reflected in African culture and worldview, is the only accurate compass to guide a historian who is genuine about writing African history. . . . Slavery and colonisation do not themselves constitute African history. They disrupt and falsify the trajectory of African history. They dehumanise Africans to fit into the scheme of European capital. The ideology of racism is created as a parallel process to rationalise the oppression of Africans. . . . I need not stress that it is imperative to edify educational systems, which embody the African and universal values so as to ensure the rooting of youth in African culture in the context of a sustainable and participatory development. This way we continue to foster the spirit of unity in Africa as embodied in the African Unity Charter”AllAfrica

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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Home  Transitional Writings on Africa  The African World   Black Labor  President Robert Mugabe's UN Speech

Related files: Empires and Lynching  The Real Trouble with Zimbabwe    The Lynching of Robert Mugabe (Ogbunwezeh)   Black Africa's duty to help Zimbabwe    No to invasion of Zimbabwe! (Molefe) 

Western Hypocrisy   Zimbabwe and the Question of Imperialism (Goodman)  Look What I Found (video)  Choosing Sides  Trans Africa & Progressives on Mugabe  Colin Powell on Mugabe   Sanctions on Zimbabwe 

Zimbabwe's Lonely Fight for Justice     Reporting Zimbabwe    President Robert Mugabe's UN Speech   A Shattered Dream  Zimbabwe and the Question of Imperialism