Douglas Rogers

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Children pass in front of a wall with a mural of the Robert Mugabe in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Saturday, a day after his death. (Tafadzwa Ufumeli/Getty Images)

In 1980, after coming to power following the brutal 15-year guerrilla war he led against white minority rule, Robert Mugabe, independent Zimbabwe’s first leader, made an extraordinary speech in which he addressed the country’s anxious white population:

“If yesterday I fought you as an enemy, today you have become a friend. If yesterday you hated me, today you cannot avoid the love that binds me to you.”

I was 12 years old at the time, and it was partly because of that moving speech that my parents — white Africans of many generations — chose to stay in Zimbabwe, though an estimated 60 percent of the country’s white population would leave over the next six years.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the midst of a wave of post-election political violence in Zimbabwe in 2008, Brian James, a white farmer who had been evicted from his property years earlier during President Robert Mugabe’s seizure of white-owned lands, found himself surrounded by a throng of black Zimbabweans in downtown Mutare, my hometown. The 50-strong crowd danced, sang and chanted political slogans for more than 20 minutes before Mr. James was finally able to raise his hand, thank them for their support and announce that he was honored to have been elected mayor of the country’s third-largest city.

This Sunday is the 30th anniversary of Zimbabwe’s independence from white rule and President Mugabe’s rise to power.…  Seguir leyendo »