Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mugabe inflames the Afro-pessimists, but Zimbabwe's story is much deeper

"As Zimbabwe turns 30, however, there are significant achievements to celebrate. Independence itself was one, especially as it brought the end of an apartheid-in-miniature that had allowed a small white minority to enjoy benefits not available to the black majority. Rhodesia's segregationist policy was grievously unjust; but children born in Zimbabwe would no longer have their life paths determined simply because of the colour of their skin." - Petina Gappah

Petina Gappah is a great writer. Her stories (An Elegy for Easterly) are among the best you have read or can ever read anywhere anytime.
I'm thinking however that she tries her very best to tell Zimbabwe's good stories here. Well, since we can assume that we hear from the native informer's voice we have no option than to take her words seriously.
It seems a bit worrisome though, for a sharp, restless mind like hers, to argue that one of the achievements of an independent country is independence.
That reads like a wrong premise. But I love the fact, and this is a fact, that Robert Mugabe invested a lot in education, making Zimbabwe one of the most educated countries in Africa.
No one questions Bob's love of, and dedication to, his country in his first ten years. He's been there for thirty years now. 30 fucking years! So, his investment in education couldn't produce an intelligent leader capable of taking over from him.
Enjoy Gappah's tribute to Zimbabwe at 30. May this country see better days.

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