Reverse racism is wrong


THERE is a somewhat misplaced belief among us as blacks that racism is alright as long as we are the ones that practise it and we are not the ones that have it practised upon us.

Recently the Southern Eye carried a story on how Maleme Ranch has been targeted by a government official for takeover barely a few months after David Connolly had his farm taken over by another leading government official who up to then was a respectable bureaucrat.

Nobody in their right mind opposes the land reform process as it has been undertaken to reverse the injustices of processes such as the Lippert Concessions, the Rudd Concession and the Land Tenure Act which reduced blacks to paupers in their own land.

This, however, does not give us the licence to substitute the blatant racism and fascism of the colonialists with our own brand of Americanised racisms which alienates whites, Asians, Coloureds and people of other races.

It is on public record that the Cunninghams who own Maleme Ranch are a rare breed of people who have done more for the country and indeed more for black people than many kleptocrats in the higher echelons of power, some of who have made corruption a glorified national institution.

The Ranch houses Shalom Campsite has benefited thousands of children and youths from the ’80s through church and Scripture Union Camps.

The ranch has an agricultural training centre and a project to empower local communities through chicken and ostrich outgrower schemes.

A significant proportion of the ranch (almost 1 000 hectares) has already been ceded to the community for grazing out of a total of around 2 500 hectares. Indeed it would be sad if we allowed racism to blind both our vision and our judgment.

Section 289 of the Constitution actually grants every Zimbabwean access to land access to land regardless of race or colour. The letter and spirit of the Constitution is therefore to address historical imbalances in land distribution while at the same ensuring that reverse racism is not practiced by alienating minorities.

Every Zimbabwean has a right to land and indeed even this writer who has for many years sought legal, moral and ethical ways of purchasing, acquiring or leasing land as constitutionally provided.

The issue of colour should not be the sole determinant of land apportionment as there are many productive white farmers who have actually worked well with black communities.

The country will actually be better off if there were partnerships between new farmers and established farmers.

This is what was envisioned in Joshua Nkomo and Zapu’s vision document “The New Zimbabwe, which was published after independence providing a framework for productive reorganisation of land without spreading poverty, but emphasising partnerships and wealth creation.

There are many white people such as Judith Todd, Jeremy and Paul Brickhill that contributed to the liberation of this country.

Judith the daughter to former Southern African Prime Minister Garfield Todd, actually started speaking against white tyranny in the early ’60s.

Jeremy Brickhill joined Zapu’s intelligence wing during the struggle while his brother the late Paul was part of Umkhonto Wesizwe and Zapu.

David Coltart contributed immensely to the revitalisation of the education sector and made sure that there textbooks in every school.

Robert Mugabe rightfully credited him with the hosting of the Youth Games in Bulawayo and the Sports minister Andrew Langa was gracious enough to acknowledge Coltart’s efforts by extending a red carpet to the former minister.

The late Eric Bloch was one person I knew was committed to the country and whenever we called upon him to attend a meeting or deliver a speech he never disappointed and only declined if it clashed with his beloved Jewish Sabbath.

We have outstanding people from the Indian community such as the Narans, the Desais (we called them ‘desires’) and the Naiks who aided the armed struggle.

We need to build a new Zimbabwe which is not based on hatred but on love, liberty and diversity. As Nkomo said “we do not seek to bring down Brown, but to lift up Ndlovu so that they are equal”.

Dumisani Nkomo is an activist, social entrepreneur and chief executive officer of Habakkuk Trust. He writes in his personal capacity.