Leon Lemmer: Zimbabwe: Die ontheemding van blanke boere

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Die aanloop tot die Bosoorlog in Rhodesië was die moord op Petrus Johannes Andries Oberholzer op 4 Julie 1964 by Melsetter, gevolg deur die moord op ‘n Viljoen-egpaar by Gadzema op 16 Mei 1966. Van 1973 tot 1979 is talle blankes deur terreurbendes vermoor, bv mev I Kleynhans by Centenary op 24 Januarie 1973 en mnr A Joubert by Wedza op 30 Maart 1973. Na Mosambiek se onafhanklikheidswording in 1975 het terrorisme skerp toegeneem. In baie gevalle was blanke boere en hulle gesinslede die slagoffers; dikwels Afrikaanssprekendes. Na die politieke onafhanklikheid van Zimbabwe in 1980 het hierdie soort misdade aanvanklik afgeneem.

Met die aanvang van plaasbesettings in 2000 is die moordveldtogte met hernude ywer hervat, bv Willem Botha was ‘n slagoffer by Seke op 23 Mei 2000. (Vir ‘n ellelange lys van vermoordes in die Bosoorlog en daarna, met plek en datum, kyk Rory Pilossof, bron hier onder, bylaag 5.) Dit herinner aan wat Lien Botha oor Suid-Afrika geskryf het: “Landbouers was teen dié tyd sorgvuldig uitgedun” (Wonderboom, Kaapstad: Queillerie, 2015, p 18). Behoort die nagedagtenis van hierdie Rhodesiese/Zimbabwiese blankes/Afrikaners nie plaaslik gehuldig te word nie, of het ons in Suid-Afrika oorgenoeg vermoorde boere en ander blankes/Afrikaners wat ook nie na behore geëer word nie?

‘In Afrika kan moord ‘n mens se loopbaan ‘n hupstoot gee.’

Die groot rol wat blanke Suid-Afrikaners, insluitende Afrikaners, in die ontwikkeling van Rhodesië gespeel het, moet meer erkenning geniet. In 1922 het Jan Smuts alles in sy vermoë gedoen om Rhodesië die vyfde provinsie van Suid-Afrika te maak. “But put off by the Nationalists’ republican sentiments and South Africa’s official policy of bilingualism, white Rhodesians decided by a narrow majority of 2 785 votes against incorporation into South Africa” (Richard Steyn, Jan Smuts: Unafraid of greatness, Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2015, 278p; Amazon Kindle $12,53; Kindle 1999). Hierdie referendumuitslag laat dit lyk asof ietwat te min Afrikaners hulle in Rhodesië gevestig het.

Peter Godwin skryf: “I think I first realized something was wrong when our next-door neighbour, oom Piet Oberholzer [1ste paragraaf hier bo], was murdered … I can remember oom Piet’s body lying on the tar road. He was on his back, with the bone handle of a hunting knife sticking out of his chest” (Mukiwa: A white boy in Africa, London: Macmillan, 1996, p 3). Die terroriste se modus operandi was om klippe oor die pad te pak en om Oberholzer, toe hy uit sy voertuig klim, met klippe te bestook, met ‘n mes dood te steek en petrol oor sy voertuig, met sy vrou en kind binne-in, te gooi. Dit is hoe mense, wat na bewering die hoë morele grond beklee, te werk gaan. Die leier van hierdie moordbende, William Ndangana, is in 1980 as ‘n adjunk-minister in Robert Mugane se kabinet aangestel (p 20). In Afrika kan moord ‘n mens se loopbaan ‘n hupstoot gee.

Die talle ooreenkomste tussen die geskiedenis van en die huidige situasie in Rhodesië/Zimbabwe en Suid-Afrika is redelik bekend. Maar net soos “die wêreld” grootliks belangstelling in Suid-Afrika verloor het na FW de Klerk se roemlose en mandaatlose magsoorgawe aan die magte van die bose, is buitestanders sedert die bewindsaanvaarding van Robert Mugabe min begaan oor wat in Zimbabwe gebeur. Soos Jocelyn Alexander dit stel: “The spaces and the occupants of white farms fell outside the remit of nationalist historiography” (Pilosoff, bron hier onder, Kindle 713). Anders as tydens die bewind van Ian Smith verwerdig plaaslike koerantuitgewers hulle nie meer om eie beriggewers in Zimbabwe te hê nie. Byvoorbeeld, Naspers/Media24 sou geen behae daarin hê as so ‘n verslaggewer hom met ‘n stroom polities inkorrekte berigte voer nie. Dieselfde geld Namibië. Eintlik het die werklike lot van al die blankes in Suidelike Afrika in groot mate in die (buitelandse) hoofstroommedia vergete geraak.

Teen hierdie agtergrond het ek gehoop dat Rory Pilossof se boek, The unbearable whiteness of being: Farmers’ voices from Zimbabwe (Harare: Weaver Press & Claremont: UCT Press, 2012, 283p; Amazon Kindle $11,39), welkome verdere/nuwe inligting sou verskaf. Die boektitel sinspeel op Milan Kundera se roman, The unbearable lightness of being (1984). Pilossof se boek is blykbaar ‘n aanpassing van die doktorale proefskrif (Kindle 267) wat hy in 2010 aan die University of Sheffield voltooi het. Hy was agtereenvolgens akademies verbonde aan die universiteite Kaapstad en Pretoria en tans die Universiteit Vrystaat. Maar sy tuisdorp is in Suid-Carolina (6632). Sy verbintenis met Zimbabwe is: “My great-uncle was involved in large-scale cattle ranching in Matabeleland, so the Pilosoff name was well known in farming circles” (5128).

Die georganiseerde (blanke) landbouers, bekend as bv die Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU), het blykbaar twyfel oor Pilossof se gesindheid/motiewe gehad en hom toegang tot hulle argiewe geweier (272, 5148). ‘n Ander navorsers, Angus Selby, het wel toegang verkry (408). Verder: “The National Archives of Zimbabwe and the Central Statistics Office were in such disrepair and disorder that doing any detailed research was inconceivable” (272). Pilosoff se navorsing steun dus in groot mate op inligting in die weeklikse tydskrif, The Farmer, enkele akademiese tesisse, die gepubliseerde outobiografieë en herinneringe van blankes en onderhoude wat met afgesette boere gevoer is. Oor die resultaat van sy ondersoek skryf hy: “The version I put forward is probably not one that most white farmers would agree with” (333). Hy etiketteer hierdie boere se standpunt as “affirmative parochialism” (338). Polities korrek gee hy die blankes (deels) die skuld vir die Bosoorlog en die plaasbesettings en -onteienings.

“Parochialism is usually invoked in a negative context, typically signifying the narrow, provincial or insular. However, emphasising the affirmative nature of the white farmers’ parochialism stresses that it was a chosen strategy. This does not negate or preclude a negative interpretation; it also opens the space for questioning the motives of this inward-looking approach by the white farming community and its leadership … The CFU sought to preserve the white farming community as it was, and felt the best way to do this was to promote its isolation and focus only on those issues that affected it. They insulated themselves from events around them by claiming to be ‘apolitical'” (1824). “Farmers retreated from the political arena in the belief that this was the most likely way to ensure their survival in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe” (1870). Volgens die HAT beteken parogiaal “bekrompe, benepe, eng.” Dit is dieselfde woord wat gebruik word om bv die Universiteit Stellenbosch van weleer te etiketteer. Oor Pilossof se negatiewe ingesteldheid jeens blankes en spesifiek hierdie boere kan daar kwalik twyfel wees.

Volgens die voorwoord is Pilossof se teks bedoel om die wit boere se kant van die saak te stel omdat die standpunt van die swartes reeds dikwels aandag gekry het. (Wanneer ek voortaan na boere verwys, word blanke boere bedoel.) Die tydperk onder bespreking is van die 1970’s (toe terrorisme in alle erns toegeslaan het) tot 2004. Pilossof het in 2006 na Zimbabwe gegaan en was verbonde aan die Research and Advocacy Unit en later Justice for Agriculture. Laasgenoemde het onderhoude met boere wat van hulle plase afgesit is, gevoer. Hierdie boere gebruik graag die volgende benamings vir die plaasbesetters: “terr” (‘n verkorting van “terroris”), “gook” (‘n term wat tydens die Amerikaanse stryd in Viëtnam vir hulle teenstanders gebruik is) en “mujiba … the Shona word for young boys who acted as informants and messengers for the guerrilla forces” (197; ook 4869).

Die breë tendens wat Pilossof bespeur, is dat die boere hulle tydens die Bosoorlog agter die blanke politieke bewind van Ian Smith geskaar het; veral sedert die eensydige onafhanklikheidsverklaring in 1965. Pilosoff noem Rhodesië ‘n “settler state” (4092). Boere en hulle besittings is daarom (soos in Suid-Afrika) as wettige teikens vir terrorisme beskou. Terrorisme is toe by die naam genoem. “Farmers were the front line in the war” (2017). Die CFU-president het in sy 1977-Kersboodskap belowe “that farmers would ‘remain the Frontier of our National effort’. For an apolitical entity, this was a very strong and clear message of support for the RF [Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front] and the fight against the ‘terrorist’ threat” (2099).

Die aard van die terreurgebaseerde Bosoorlog is glo “never framed as such by white media” (3117). Oor voor die hand liggende sake is geswyg; ‘n geval van “people protect themselves through silences”, soos Carolyn Nordstrom dit gestel het (2984). Anthony Chennells het egter helder en duidelik gesê wat aan die gebeur is: “primitive space attempting to reabsorb civilised space” (3123). In die boeregemeenskap was daar ook insig in die vyand as “Communist-trained terrorists whose aim is to remove whites from the country and destroy their influence which in 89 short years [since 1890] has been the key to economic and social development unparalleled on the African continent” (3142).

Henry Kissinger en B.J. Vorster
Henry Kissinger en B.J. Vorster

In 1980 het die magsoorname deur swartes plaasgevind, danksy die medewerking van bv John Vorster (die Suid-Afrikaanse eerste minister), Henry Kissinger (die Amerikaanse minister van buitelandse sake) en Peter Carington (die Britse minister van buitelandse sake). Polissof noem dit “the perceived betrayal of [by?] South Africa” (2106). Toe het die boere hulle by die onverkwiklike nuwe situasie probeer aanpas; ook wat hulle taalgebruik betref. Soos Nelson Mandela in die jare negentig het Robert Mugabe aanvanklik versoenende uitlatings teenoor die blankes gemaak. Die Lancaster House-grondwet het bepaal dat grond tot 1990 slegs teen markverwante pryse deur ‘n gewillige verkoper en koper verhandel mag word (707). Daarna is die prys na “fair compensation” verander (796).

Toe Mugabe sy swart politieke teenstanders in die 1980’s in Matabeleland en die Middelande probeer uitroei het (die veldtog staan bekend as Gukurahundi), was die boere aanvanklik geneig om Mugabe ten minste amptelik te steun. Byvoorbeeld, in 1984: “The commercial farming sector is fully aligned with the Government’s fight for stability and law and order” (3263). Met verloop van tyd is baie boere egter vermoor: “By 1987, more than 50 farmers and their families had been murdered by dissidents” (3201). Die boere is ook tydens die Bosoorlog drasties uitgedun: “Farmers accounted for more than 50 per cent of white civilian deaths during the war” (654, 3584). Nogtans: “By 1990, 30 per cent fewer farmers were prodicing 20 per cent more output on almost 20 per cent less land” (775).

“After the signing of the Unity Accord in 1988 and the capitulation of [Joshua Nkomo’s] ZAPU, the security situation was resolved” (3368). Mugabe was egter nie lank sonder politieke opposisie nie. Die Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) het ontstaan. Die boere het hulle steun aan hierdie nuwe politieke party toegesê en aktief teen die Mugabe-bewind georganiseer. Mugabe het die referendum vir ‘n nuwe grondwet in Februarie 2000 verloor. “Mugabe and other party leaders ‘blamed the defeat on the white minority and … promised retaliation'” (2499). Die grondwet het bv bepaal dat Brittanje vir grondhervorming moet betaal. In die daaropvolgende Junie 2000-verkiesing het Mugabe, heel moontlik weens bedrog, geseëvier.

Hierna het vergelding in die vorm van plaasbesettings begin, bekend as jambanja, “state-sponsered lawlessness” (1190), wat tot op hede voortgesit word. Dit word as “the latest evolution of the struggle” beskou (1292). Weens hulle steun aan die MDC is die boere voortaan as opposisie-politici beskou en as sodanige behandel (1299). Soos ZAPU is die MDC in die Government of National Unity opgeneem (2669), wat swart mag solidariteit/konsolidasie teen die blankes bevorder het. Mugabe: “Let us bring home to the commercial farmers of the CFU that they have declared war against the people of Zimbabwe who have every determination to win it” (1307). Soos in Suid-Afrika is die boere die skuld vir die stadige pas van grondhervorming gegee (817). Mugabe het teruggekeer na sy onderneming tydens die Bosoorlog: “that not ‘one of the white exploiters [would be] allowed to keep a single acre of their land'” (726; ook 2056). Dit is soortgelyk aan bv Nelson Mandela en Jacob Zuma se stelling dat Suid-Afrika die swartes se land is, ‘n geval van “take what is rightfully ours” (2477). Na bykans vier eeue en ‘n voortreflike geskiedenis van eerder opbou as afbreek, het blankes in die oë van die ANC steeds, soos in Zimbabwe, die status van setlaars. In Zimbabwe “80 per cent of the land bought by white farmers was bought after independence” (4022). Elders word hierdie persentasie op 65 gestel (4100, 5690). Maar hoeveel swartes het ooit plase gekoop pleks van hulle gratis te ontvang? Maar dan word na blankes in Zimbabwe verwys as “the ones who stole the land” (4548). In Suid-Afrika kom Zuma met dieselfde bewering.

‘n Belangrike verskil tussen die Bosoorlog en Mugabe se grondhervorming is dat hoofsaaklik boere in afgeleë grensgebiede tydens die oorlog deur terroriste geteiken is terwyl grondbesetting en -onteiening potensieel alle boere bedreig: “While … with the vast majority of farming deaths, attacks and desertions occuring in the outlying border regions, the threat of land expropriation espoused by the nationalist movements affected the entire community” (3062). Pilosoff maak asof dit nie so erg is nie en probeer selfs die Mugabe-bewind (in ‘n mate) verontskuldig: “It should be remembered that, while the vast majority of farmers were forced from their land, only eleven white farmers were killed between 2000 and 2004 (and not all of these in actions sanctioned by government” (3442).

Sedert 2000 het die Zimbabwiese boere teruggekeer na hulle taalgebruik tydens die Bosoorlog deur na die plaasbesetters as bv terroriste te verwys. Pilosoff vra hom af of die boere se gesindheid regtig na 1980 verander het en kom tot hierdie gevolgtrekking: “The farmers largely retained the prejudices and biases that expressed themselves so evidently after 2000” (3672). “White farmers were now direct targets of the state. The realisation that they were under attack reinvigorated the often racist white farming discourses of the 1970s” (3379). “Many white farmers in the 1970s had predicted [what] was going to happen after independence” (3399), te wete dat “the true nature of black rule and Mugabe” (3379) na vore sou kom. Volgens Richard Winkfield “the disaster occuring in Zimbabwe was a typical manifestation of the broader decay of the continent” (3418).

Die swartes verwys na die plaasbesettings as die “Third Chimurenga” (1220). “The Third Chimurenga was designed to group all those who were against the government, into ‘the enemy’ … ‘enemies of the state’, and therefore beyond the pale of the rule of law” (1307). Die eerste twee Chimurenga’s verwys na die swart opstande teen blankes onder die leiding van Lobengula teen die einde van die 19de eeu (1284). Aan die begin van die huidige eeu kon die boere plaasuitsettings aanvanklik met hofbevele beveg. Maar Mugabe het hom nie aan hofuitsprake gesteur nie: “We want whites to learn that the land belongs to Zimbabweans” (1226). “The language employed, coupled with the government’s sanctioning of violence, meant that all those labelled as the opposition, or enemies of the state, were open to attack and violence without any legal protection from the state” (1314). Dit is veral die geval sedert Mugabe die getal regters in die hooggeregshof van vyf tot agt vermeerder en daarmee regspleging ‘n “pliant instrument of state power” gemaak het (1442).

Soos in Suid-Afrika was daar swartbewind-voorstanders in Rhodesië: Tydens die Bosoorlog “some farmers even supported the guerrilla fighters in their areas. Often this was done opportunistically in order to ensure safety from attack, but for some, such as Garfield Todd and Guy Clutton-Brock, ‘support for the nationalist forces was a matter of conviction'” (687). Kyk wat het twee Afrikaanssprekende boere na 2000 oor die plaasbesettings gedoen: “One of the most notable of these was its [CFU’s] backing of a plan formulated by Nick Swanepoel and John Bredenkamp – farm owners with close ties to [Mugabe’s] ZANU-PF – called the Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative (ZJRI), which proposed an immediate offer to government of one million hectares of land for planned and orderly resettlement, with a further four million hectares to follow over a longer period of time” (1394). Hiervan het niks tereg gekom nie, maar die voorstel het verdere verdeeldheid in die plaasgemeenskap veroorsaak.

Soos in Suid-Afrika was daar ook voorstelle vir die verdeling van plase wat dan die gesamentlike onderneming en eiendom van boere en besetters sou word (1495). “For the occupiers, it was a chance to get a foot in the door, observe the farming process and acquire their share in the growing of a crop they would put little or no input into. Usually, farmers were evicted before or during the harvest, leaving the occupiers to reap the profits” (1502). Dit kan as ‘n sprekende voorbeeld van Afrika-geregtigheid beskou word. Pilosoff skryf: “Even in post-colonial Zimbabwe farm labourers remained … junior partner[s]” (4947). Hulle was nie tevrede om (grootliks onverdiend) gelyke vennote te wees nie. Hulle wou die base van die plase wees, met katastrofiese gevolge.

Die landbou-oorskot is weens die grondhervormingsproses in voedseltekorte en hongersnood omskep. Die handelsanksies wat na 1965 ingestel is, het die boere verplig om te diversifiseer; ook omdat tabak om gesondheidsredes in onguns geraak het. Boere het oorgeskakel na tuinbou (bv blomme) en wildboerdery, onder meer weens vee- en ander diefstal. Asof die boere nie genoeg benadeel is nie, misbruik Pilossof hierdie verwikkelinge om boere te verwyt dat dit vir hulle om ekonomiese welvaart gaan en nie om patrioties die bevolking van kos te voorsien nie (605). Ook: “Land inequalities were dismissed as faults of the government’s misrule, and no attempt was made to discuss the inequalities of wealth” (3393).

Dit is eers in die latere hoofstukke dat Pilossof al hoe duideliker sy politieke gesindheid openbaar. Hy skryf deurgaans van die “Liberation War” en “guerrillas” en gebruik “terrorists” tussen aanhalingstekens. Maar selfs “bush war” is vir hom onaanvaarbaar: “The term ‘bush war’ … is saturated with racial undertones that are implicitly dismissive of the struggle for independence. For those who subscribe to the ‘bush war’ view of the conflict, a ‘war veteran’ was in fact a cowardly ‘terrorist’, rather than a soldier worthy of the title and fighting for a legitimate cause” (3405). “There was no apparent realisation that the guerrillas were human too, fighting and dying for a cause very real to them” (4198). Het die blankes nie in dieselfde mate as swartes die reg op lewe en eiendom nie?

Die tydskrif The Farmer word ook gekritiseer: “The magazine never admitted its complicity in the previous violence [hy verwys blykbaar na die boere se steun vir die MDC], but its sudden association with a claimed fellow victimhood is entirely ahistorical and reveals the silences and forgetting central to white farmer discourse” (3467). Die tydskrif het briewe gepubliseer oor “the ineptitude of black rule” (3519) en “the virtues of the colonialists” (3526). “The Farmer sought to identify with a glorious past that was threatened with extinction by [Mugabe’s] ZANU-PF” (3534). Pilosoff noem die boere se menings “colonial apology and romanticism” (3526).

“While the ‘genocide’ of Gukurahundi was evoked, many declared Mugabe’s actions against white farmers to be another genocide, or at least an ‘ethnic cleansing’. Yet most of these claims were utterly unconnected with events that were taking place. White farmers were certainly attacked, but they represented a very small proportion of the white population of Zimbabwe (around five per cent)” (3488). Die boere word beskuldig van “a lack of compassion for circumstances of the wider population” (3511), bedoelende swartes, bv plaaswerkers: “The fast-track land reforms had as much to do with them [farm workers] as it did with white landowners” (4000). “The farmer was utterly dependent on the cheap labour, and exploitation, of black workers to make their enterprises viable and successful” (4079).

Terselfdertyd wys Pilosoff egter ook op “a significant number of inefficient and incapable white famers … in the 1975/76 season … 60 per cent white-owned farms were not profitable enough to pay income tax” (4059). Goedkoop arbeid was dus nie ‘n wonderkuur nie. Ook: Hoeveel swart boere het inkomstebelasting betaal? Ten spyte van die voedseltekorte en selfs hongersnood wat Zimbabwe tans ervaar, skryf Pilosoff: “There is plenty of evidence to illustrate that black farmers were capable of producing enough food to feed the country” (4586).

Pilossof het dit ook teen die simpatie wat vir die boere weens plaasbesettings in die openbare pers (Afrika uitgesonderd – 3380) uitgespreek is: “What is surprising is the sheer quantity of that coverage, given the small number of white farmers [killed: 11 between 2000 and 2004 – 3442] and the actual scope of violence they have been exposed to” (3678). Die “actual scope of violence” was egter genoeg om boere verplig te laat voel om hulle plase/boerderye/inkomste/tuistes op te gee, dus ontworteling/ontheemding as die beste opsie te kies.

In die voorlaaste hoofstuk skryf Pilosoff: “Rhodesia, as a place and as a nation, no longer exists” (3780). Wit Rhodesiërs se herinneringsgeskrifte is glo “an attempt to keep that ‘imagined’ community or nation of Rhodesia alive” (3780). Dit pas hom om te skryf “Timothy Brennan observes that nations are ‘imaginary constructs’ whose existence depends on ‘an apparatus of cultural fictions'” (3771). Maar dit is Pilosoff wat beweer dat hierdie blankes aan geheueverlies ly (3467), bv oor wat hulle die swartes aangedoen het. Die werkers is glo uitgebuit, misbruik en mishandel (4079, 4185, 4192). Blanke nasionalisme en kultuur word deur Pilosoff ontken of verkleineer, maar nie swart nasionalisme en kultuur nie. By blankes is sulke dinge onregmatig, maar nie by swartes nie. By blankes noem hy hulle “myths” (3780): “Myths implies a collective perception and is basic to more complex formulations of ideology, to subsequent political programmes and to social attitudes” (3786). In werklikheid is die blankes, die lewendes en die (vermoorde) dooies, en hulle besittings, bv plase, konkrete realiteite en nie fiksie of mites nie.

Oor blankes se herinneringsgeskrifte: “What they write is tailored for a limited number of distinct groups: the farming community, white Rhodesian/Zimbabwean communities of the diaspora, and international white/western audiences”(3833). Van die “mites” wat verkondig word, is “those of the empty land, the hard-working white pastoralists and the lazy ‘Africans'” (3853; ook 4371). “Such beliefs in empty land deny the indigenous black populations a place of belonging … ‘Africans’ employed by the white man fit the model of pastoral paternalism” (3860). “Corruption by outside forces is blamed for the breakdown of the relationship between whites and blacks, thus absolving the whites of any wrongdoing or guilt” (3882). Enersyds ontken Pilosoff dat die boere ongerepte grond/”empty land” beset het. Andersyds verwyt hy hulle dat daar steeds “unutilised land” is (4185).

In die boere se vertellings “it is the physical landscape that is most important to the white settlers. Regardless of the political events, the country retains its image as a pastoral ideal. In believing this, the authors show a short-sightedness and inability to connect to the political and social currents, not only within Rhodesia with the rise of African nationalism, but within the region and the continent” (3897). Die boere het glo bly klou aan hulle “racist … archaic, colonial visions of Africa” (4157). Pilosoff noem dit “collective myopia” (883) en “white myopia” (4079).

“D Palamuni-Poi wrote in his study of ethnic autobiography that ‘the ethnic narrative presents an occasion for a subversive revision of the dominant version of history’. Here the competing history is that of [Mugabe’s] ZANU-PF, which has dogmatically maintained that white people do not belong in Zimbabwe, and are outsiders or non-citizens. These autobiographies and memoirs are a direct attempt to combat these notions and prove belonging. Secondly, these works are not just for outside or external audiences. They allow the community, regardless of how dispersed and fragmented it is, to see that there are still those from within who are telling its story and extolling its virtues. Thirdly, these writers are endowed with a particular responsibility. They are a select group of a select group, one which has taken on the role of documenting community traumas” (3925). Maar hierdie gedokumenteerde herinneringe word deur Pilosoff gekarakteriseer as “apologist accounts … often trying too hard to clear history and justify their position” (4271). “Written responses can be seen as displacement activity responding to political impotence” (4377); ‘n geval van “longing for a return to ‘the good old days'” (4382), “a perfect Rhodesian past” (4452).

Die outeur skryf soos volg oor sy benadering tot die onderhoude wat met afgesette boere gevoer is: “In order to write not simply an apologist account of white farmers in Zimbabwe [iets wat hy nie sal doen nie], or a tirade against an unchanged group of racist neo-colonialists who deserved exactly what they had coming to them [eintlik ‘n opsomming van sy standpunt], this source requires sensitive handling” (4680). “Some interviewees were so ‘comfortable’ that they had no qualms about using the racist or prejudiced language that pervaded white farming circles” (4723). Pilosoff noem dit “a manufactured tradition” (4770). Hy vertel van die “emotional breakdown” van sommige van die boere wat ondervra is, “the sense of loss and displacement”, die “extreme physical violence [wat teenspreek wat hy elders beweer – 3442] and psychological trauma” wat hulle ervaar het (4776). “The invasions put great strain on marriages and family lives” (4815). Maar harteloos ontsê Pilosoff hierdie mense die reg om emosionele taal ter uitdrukking van hulle gevoelens te gebruik.

Hierdie boere het ingewillig dat onderhoude met hulle gevoer word omdat Justice for Agriculture (JAG) se oogmerk is “to safeguard and support people directly affected, in whatever way possible, and to document and expose the injustices and human rights abuses being perpetrated against them” (4692). Meer as 300 onderhoude is gevoer (4704). As JAG-amptenaar het Pilosoff meer as 30 van hierdie onderhoude behartig. Hoewel hy hoofsaaklik laasgenoemde onderhoude in sy boek gebruik (4711), benut hy dit op ‘n ander manier as wat JAG se bedoeling was. Myns insiens het hy onder valse voorwendsels toegang tot JAG se inligting verkry; inligting waarop hy as amptenaar geen eiendomsreg het nie. Hy erken sy relaas “would not please JAG” (4736). Hy besef selfs dat hier ‘n etiese kwessie ter sprake is (4729). Ek vind die gebruik wat Pilosoff van hierdie inligting maak oneties: “The interviews provide a rich source from which to garner deeper, more nuanced insights” (4743). Sy oogmerke was negatief: om “factual inaccuracies, prejudices and faults” bloot te lê (4686), dus om die inligting ooreenkomstig sy agenda en vooroordele te vertolk.

“As in the Liberation War, the use of the term ‘gook’ to label these individuals [die plaasbesetters] denies them status [!] and negates the importance of the ‘war’ they fought and their actions in that war. The reinvigoration of ‘gook’ reveals not only a lack of recognition and acceptance amongst much of the white farming community of the Liberation War, but also their racial prejudices” (4860). “Actions in that war” verwys onder meer na moorde. “The murders acted as a form of psychological weapon to break the resistance of those who remained on the land” (4815). Dit is bekend dat baie van die plaasbesetters te jonk is om enige rol in die Bosoorlog te gehad het (1386, 1415, 3400). Hulle is dus nie oorlogsveterane nie.

“Describing these people [plaasbesetters] as mujibas denied them legitimacy as war veterans and called into question their role and standing [!] in the new land movements … It is important to realise that the white farmers have been highly instrumental in creating the ‘war vet’ that has become the stock image of the land occupations in Zimbabwe since 2000” (4886). “Twenty years after the end of the Liberation War, the white farming community was able to seamlessly fit the ‘land invasions’ into the paradigm of war” (4903).

“The enduring nature of such discourses suggests that there has been a limit to the ‘decolonisation of the mind’ for some (if not many) white farmers … The language used to talk about indigenous populations has failed to move away from that of the colonial era” (4912). “White farmers in Zimbabwe are ‘orphans of empire’, unable to progress past this state of being and thus ‘become’ Zimbabwean” (5109). “This failure to redefine themselves and others in the post-colonial setting, meant that white farmers remained trapped in a colonial past” (4926). Pilosoff verwag van die boere dat hulle hulle identiteit moet prysgee. Myns insiens sou selfs dit hulle nie gebaat het nie, want hulle voorkoms sou steeds blank wees, wat die rassistiese kern van Mugabe en diesulkes se beswaar teen hulle is.

Daar word gekla oor “the inadequacy of nutrition, education and health care on commercial farms” (4933). Maar dit is juis die plaasbesettings wat tot die vernietiging van skole en klinieke op die plase gelei het (1516). Dan skryf Pilosoff waaragtig: “While some commercial farms operated primary schools, very few offered any secondary education” (4941). As daar hoërskole op die plase was, sou Pilosoff seker die boere verwyt het dat daar nie universiteite is nie.

Wanneer boere van hulle plase afgesit word, het die regering sedert 2002 die grenselose vermetelheid om van hulle te vereis om “termination benefits, or ‘retrenchment packages'” aan hulle werkers te betaal. “These packages consisted of two months’ pay, plus a month’s pay for every year worked” (5008). “Gratuity packages for farm workers became a key strategy in breaking the alliance between farmers and workers” (5016). Wat in die praktyk gebeur, is dat werkers soms so gretig en kortsigtig is om hierdie korttermyn finansiële voordeel te geniet, dat hulle “conspired to ensure that farms were designated” vir beslaglegging (5016). “It was an incredibly effective tool for government” (5016).

Kyk hoe vertolk Pilosoff hierdie skandalige wanpraktyk, natuurlik met kritiek op die boere en sonder enige kritiek op die swartes: Die swart werkers “could see the writing on the wall before the white farmers [dus, die werkers is slimmer as die boere], and realised that retrenchment was probably their last opportunity to benefit from their farming employment before it was lost. None of the farmers offered their workers any leeway in this regard. Very little thought was given to how they would survive after their livelihoods were taken away. Rather, they were often blamed for not doing more to protect the farmer (despite the evident dangers in doing so)” (5038).

Nog ‘n voorbeeld van hoe dom die boere glo is: “A fundamental aspect of white farmers’ lack of understanding was an inability to comprehend the political dimensions of the land occupations, the deepening crisis after 2000, and the hopes that independence represented for the vast majority of the population” (5062). Is daardie hoop vir die meeste Zimbabwiërs verwesenlik of verydel? Die boere “generally failed to comprehend that black Zimbabweans suffered in similar ways and because of the same political crisis” (5081).

In 2005 het Mugabe Operation Murambatsvina van stapel gestuur. “Murambatsvina is a Shona term which means ‘clear out the filth'” (5316). “It sought to ‘cleanse’ the city of Harare by dismanteling the ‘informal’ sector of the economy, evicting urban homeless people and forcing them to move ‘back’ to the rural areas” (5087). Sowat 700 000 mense is verskuif. (Maar dan word daar in Suid-Afrika steen en been gekla oor 60 000 – ‘n oordrewe getal – wat ‘n halfeeu gelede uit die krotbuurt en misdaadnes Distrik Ses verskuif is.) ‘n Zimbabwiese minister het Murambatsvina en plaasbesettings met mekaar in verband gebring deur te sê: “White farmers are dirty and should be cleared out” (5095). Weer was die boere volgens Pilosoff onnosel: “White farmers largely failed to understand the proximity of these two events. Their inability to see the link between their situation and that of others left them isolated and disconnected” (5095).

Ek kan my kwalik ‘n meer weersinwekkende boek as Pilosoff s’n voorstel.

Neem deel aan die gesprek en lewer gerus hier onder kommentaar!

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